There are less than three weeks until WrestleMania 33. The Raw brand has announced some of the matches that will happen on that big night in Orlando on April 2, but they need to do more. Let’s see what this week’s show brings.
Live from Detroit, Michigan is the Raw Deal for episode #1241. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks Melo Man for the banner up top.
The opening video package showed what happened on last week’s Raw when Brock Lesnar dropped Goldberg with a F5.
Lesnar And Heyman Deliver A Message
Raw began with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman entering the arena to a loud reaction from the crowd. The announcers reminded us that Lesnar will challenge Bill Goldberg at WrestleMania for the Universal Championship.
The crowd was hot with “Suplex City” chants. Heyman reminded us of Lesnar hitting Goldberg with the F5 last week. Heyman said not only can he see the future, but that vision has been bestowed upon us by the Goldberg eating carnivore Brock Lesnar. Some fans chanted “Goldberg” while other fans booed. Heyman informed us that Goldberg isn’t there this evening, but his client Brock Lesnar is. He said to pay attention to the advocate, which is his way of telling people to shut the hell up.
Heyman said that every single time his client has come face to face with Goldberg, the result has been Spear, Jackhammer and Goldberg for the win. Heyman bragged about how last week was a different story because it was F5 and down goes Goldberg. He spoke about how the F5 is the most devastating move in WWE when the F5 is delivered by Lesnar. Heyman said that at WrestleMania, the resurrection of Goldberg will be put down. Heyman said his theory of WrestleMania relativity equals Lesnar goes up and down goes Goldberg. That's all. Lesnar left to end the segment.
Analysis: It was the usual promo from Heyman and Lesnar. Heyman just bragged about what Lesnar did to Goldberg to make people forget about how Goldberg beat Lesnar the last time they faced off in the ring. Heyman did a good job of reacting to the Goldberg chants by telling people to shut up so he can talk. It would be nice if Lesnar actually did something other than just stand there, but that’s what WWE’s creative team is content with having him do.
Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon were in their office. Stephanie noted that things have been tense between them for quite some time. She told Mick you can’t take things personal. She noted that she hired Foley because of how he connects with the superstars. Stephanie talked about how she’s tried tough love and he said he’s better with a pat on the back. She said that if he’s willing to learn then she’s willing to teach. Foley said he’s in. They said “WrestleMania and beyond” together. Stephanie wanted him to scour the Raw roster and find the one person that he’s going to fire. She told him to choose one person to fire because everybody will be more competitive and make the overall product better. She told him he had until the end of the night to make that decision. He told her that she can count on him. She left while he looked unsure of what to do.
Analysis: It’s a storyline that can last the whole show. Depending on who the person is, it could be the start of a good angle or a waste of time.
Sasha Banks entered the ring with Bayley at her side. She’s against Dana Brooke as the announcers reminded us that Bayley defends the Women’s Title against Charlotte and Banks at WrestleMania.
Sasha Banks (w/Bayley) vs. Dana Brooke (w/Charlotte Flair)
Brooke was aggressive early on by whipping the back of her head into the turnbuckle. Banks came back with a double knee attack for two. Banks rolled her up and sat on top for the pinfall win after less than two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sasha Banks
Analysis: 1/4* A quick match to put over Banks. The finish was flat.
After the match, Charlotte went into the ring and told Dana she’s a disgrace. Charlotte told Dana that she doesn’t deserve to be by her side. Charlotte said she’s finally getting rid of Brooke. It led to Brooke hitting Charlotte with a forearm. Brooke hit her with a clothesline. Charlotte left the ring, but Brooke went after her to continue the brawl on the floor. Charlotte went back in the ring, then got out of the ring on the other side and Brooke let go to end the segment. The crowd chanted “Dana” as Charlotte backed up the ramp.
Analysis: That was well done. I’ve never heard a “Dana” chant before for Brooke, so it shows it was the right time to do the split. It’s not like they were always on screen together anyway. Charlotte is a great heel that is better on her own at this point. Good segment.
The announce team of Michael Cole, Byron Saxton & Corey Graves were shown on camera.
A video aired about the Warrior Award for the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. The winner of the award is Eric LeGrand. He played college football at Rutgers. In October 2010, a collision happened and he was carted off. He suffered a severe spinal cord injury. The video focused on his comeback. These days, he works as a motivational speaker and he helps people dealing with spinal cord injuries. He’s a lifelong WWE fan, so that’s why they are going to honor him. He’ll be presented in the Hall of Fame by Dana Warrior.
Analysis: I like that they have the Warrior Award as a feel good moment during the Hall of Fame ceremony. LeGrand’s story is well known in the sports world. If he’s a huge WWE fan like they say then it’s smart to honor him. I’m all for it.
Later on Raw: Jericho & Zayn vs. Owens & Joe. Also, Roman Reigns responds to The Undertaker.
PLUG TIME: Earlier this month, 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 in the last week are: Bryan/Triple H from WM30, Lesnar/Reigns (and Rollins) from WM31 and Rock/Austin from WM19 to name a few. Earlier today I posted the review of Savage/Flair from WM8, which is match #21. 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 cruiserweights made their entrance for a tag match. This week on 205 Live it’s a Fatal 5-Way match as Austin Aries, Akira Tozawa, TJ Perkins, Brian Kendrick & Tony Nese will battle to see who faces Neville for the Cruiserweight Title at WrestleMania. That should be an Aries win.
Akira Tozawa & TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick & Tony Nese
Tozawa took down Kendrick with a hurricanrana, he knocked him out of the ring and hit a suicide dive to knock Kendrick out of the ring. Perkins hit Nese with a headscissors on the floor as the match went to break two minutes into it.
The match returned from the break with the heels in control of Tozawa. When Tozawa went for a tag, Kendrick pulled Perkins off the apron. Nese grounded Tozawa with a leg scissors around his waist. Tozawa did his yelling to fire back, but Nese stopped him. Tozawa with an enziguri to Kendrick and a hot tag to Perkins against Nese. Perkins with a running dropkick, back splash and a face first bulldog for a two count. Tozawa dumped to the floor by Kendrick and Perkins nailed Kendrick with a kick. Nese with a clothesline on Perkins for a two count. Perkins avoided a corner charge and jumped off the top rope with a sweet DDT for a two count. That looked great. Tozawa nailed Kendrick with a running kick to the head. Nese shoved Perkins into Tozawa to knock Tozawa out of the ring and Nese did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! with tights on Perkins for the win after about nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Tony Nese & Brian Kendrick
Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid tag match with the dreaded rollup finish that I don’t like, but they love going to it to end matches. There was a bit of a miscommunication issue with Perkins looking for a tag and Tozawa wasn’t on the apron, so that’s what led to the finish. The announcers didn’t put it over enough. There was no replay after the match to point it out. The result didn’t really matter although it was a rare win for Nese. Aries is winning that five way match at 205 Live and that’s pretty obvious.
Later on Raw: Enzo & Cass vs. Sheamus & Cesaro.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson were interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. They said all people want to talk about is Enzo & Cass, so they will do what they’ve always done and take the spotlight.
Analysis: It is basically G&A telling us they are interfering later.
Kevin Owens made his entrance as the show went to break.
There was a reminder telling us Jericho faces Owens for the United States Title at WrestleMania.
Owens stood in the ring wearing his new “KO-Mania 2” shirt. Fans chanted “Y2J” at him. The spotlight was on Owens in the middle of the ring. He talked about how one month ago he took the spotlight and put it right back where it belongs. A video recap aired of Owens destroying Chris Jericho during their Festival of Friendship segment. Great angle.
Owens said that he is not Jericho’s best friend now and he never was his best friend. Owens claimed that Jericho never truly considered him to be his best friend either. Owens said that Jericho was just trying to get close to his Universal Title. Owens said that he stabbed Jericho in the back before Jericho could, so he outsmarted Jericho. Owens spoke about how he’s going to take Jericho’s United States Title just like Jericho took Owens’ title away from him (Owens blames him for the Universal Title loss). Owens claimed the only thing left of Y2J will be the tears of Jericho: “Cry it out, man.” Owens claimed that Jericho and Zayn will get a lesson and that lesson is who needs best friends when you’ve got a destroyer.
Here comes Samoa Joe. The match is after the break.
Analysis: Good promo by Owens like usual. It was similar to what he’s said in the past about how he was never the best friend of Jericho. I liked the ending when he noted that you don’t need a best friend when you’ve got a guy like Joe with you. Simple words that make sense. Easy story to tell.
This week on Smackdown, how will Shane McMahon respond to AJ Styles yelling at him last week after the show? Good angle last week.
Sami Zayn made his entrance first followed by the United States Champion Chris Jericho. No list for Jericho for his entrance, but he is wearing the scarf. Big ovations for both guys.
Kevin Owens & Samoa Joe vs. Chris Jericho & Sami Zayn
Joe started off with a boot to Jericho and a senton splash. Jericho came back with a dropkick off the middle ropes on Joe. Zayn tagged in with a headscissors takedown on Joe. Running back splash by Joe in the corner followed by a jumping kick to the head. Owens nailed Jericho, who was on the apron, with a superkick while Jericho wasn’t ready for it. Zayn with a somersault dive over the top to take out both guys on the floor. Zayn came up limping by selling the right knee. Owens clipped the back of the right knee of Zayn to knock him down. The two heels double teamed Zayn with stomps and kicks, so the ref called for the bell after four minutes of action.
Winners by disqualification: Chris Jericho & Sami Zayn
Analysis: *1/2 A short match with Zayn selling the knee injury and the heels not letting up. I don’t mind a disqualification finish like that because Zayn loses enough and I think DQ finishes are fine. If somebody got pinned there it would make them look bad. This was about adding heat to the heels.
Post match, Joe applied the Coquina Clutch on Zayn. Jericho made the save by tossing Joe out of the ring. Jericho went after Owens and they exchanged punches. The crowd went wild for it. Joe saved Owens from a Walls of Jericho attempt. Joe held Jericho while Owens punched Jericho repeatedly. Fans were chanting “We Want Balor” I think. Refs went into the ring to break it up. Owens nailed a Popup Powerbomb on Jericho to end it. The heels left.
Analysis: I like the duo of Owens and Joe together. That was a good double team attack by them. This is the way Owens should have been booked more often. He did a lot of comedy in the last year and it was okay, but it’s not Owens at his best. This is the right way to use him. Joe is a true heel that fans like to boo as well. More of them together is a good thing.
Foley and Stephanie were in their office. Stephanie suggested Sami Zayn and he didn’t seem to agree. Nia Jax showed up to complain about Banks being in the Raw Women’s Title match at WrestleMania. Stephanie told Jax she deserves to be a part of the Women’s Championship conversation. Stephanie said Jax will have a match against Bayley and Jax thanked her. Foley said he needed to take a walk.
Analysis: The rumors were that Jax would be in the title match at WrestleMania, so it could still happen.
Mick Foley was shown walking backstage. Jinder Mahal showed up to say Foley better not be thinking of firing him. Mahal said he’s a main event talent that was held back by Rusev. Foley put him in a match with Roman Reigns.
Analysis: Thanks to Mahal for the unintentional comedy by saying he’s a main event talent.
The New Day trio of Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston & Big E were backstage. They are the hosts of WrestleMania. They said they were there hosting a talk show called “New Day Talks” and brought in Big Show as a guest. Woods noted that Show can be the first two-time winner of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Kingston showed up on the New Day Pops bicycle as they said it’s their sponsor. They plugged the Jetsons/WWE movie that’s on sale tomorrow. Every time Show tried to talk, the guys cut him off. Show spoke about how the Jetsons had to go back in time to recruit WWE stars to help them. Titus O’Neil showed up with Woods telling him that he’s not allowed on New Day Talks. O’Neil said he didn’t care about being on the stupid talk show. O’Neil wondered why he wasn’t the star of the Jetsons movie. Show said he had no control over it, so O’Neil shoved him. Woods ended the show saying O’Neil ruins everything.
Analysis: It took about five minutes to get through it and it looks like they set up a match nobody wants to see.
Up next: Enzo & Cass vs. Cesaro & Sheamus.
Enzo & Cass made their entrance. They did their usual entrance to a big reaction. Enzo said he got a gift for Cesaro & Sheamus. It was a “Cuppa Haters” coffee mug for a “Cuppa Haters” and he put it on the ring post. Enzo said that there are only two types of men in the world while noting that Sheamus & Cesaro aren’t either of them. Big Cass referenced the NCAA basketball tournament by mentioning some of the schools in the tourney. He said when you fill out your bracket you put them in the championship column because they are punching their ticket to WrestleMania. Cass said at WrestleMania they become the Raw Tag Team Champions. Cass ended with the “SAWFT” bit.
Analysis: A promo full of energy like usual. They are as popular as ever.
Cesaro & Sheamus made their entrance.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
The winners will face Gallows & Anderson for the Raw Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania.
Cass hit a sidewalk slam on Cesaro as Gallows & Anderson were shown watching backstage. Sheamus came back with a knee lift on Cass, but Cass came back with a body slam. Enzo tagged in, so Cass gave him a body slam on Sheamus. Cesaro made the save and the teams argued as the show went to break.
Back from break, Enzo was getting worked on by the opponents. They did the same spot they do in every match where Enzo nearly tagged out, but was prevented by Cesaro grabbing his foot. Cass got the hot tag against Cesaro. Cass with shoulder tackle, fallaway slam, big splash in the corner, another fallaway slam and another splash in the corner. Sheamus tagged in as Cass hit a boot on Cesaro. Sheamus with a shoulder tackle on the top on Cass. With Sheamus on the apron, Cass hit a boot to the face of Sheamus. Gallows & Anderson showed up at ringside and hit Sheamus & Cass with kicks to the head. The ref rang the bell at around eight minutes.
Match Result: Disqualification
Analysis: *3/4 It was a finish that WWE does often when they want to do a triple threat match. I could see it coming as I’m sure most of you could as well. Easy way to book a match without a decisive finish.
Post match, Gallows & Anderson beat up Cass and Sheamus on the floor. They whipped Sheamus into the ring post. G&A beat on Cesaro in the ring. Enzo was on the apron, so Gallows knocked him down with a kick to the head. G&A hit the Magic Killer on Cesaro to end it.
Analysis: The tag champs G&A looked dominant over the two rival teams. Predictable booking done to set up the three team match at WrestleMania.
A replay aired from last week when Undertaker hit Roman Reigns with a Chokeslam. It’s on for WrestleMania.
Reigns was shown walking backstage for a match.
Gallows & Anderson were backstage. Foley showed up and Gallows said they made sure there are no winners. Foley did his yelling routine. Foley told them they are in a triple threat match at WrestleMania. Gallows & Anderson were surprised as if they have never watched a WWE show. It’s Gallows & Anderson vs. Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Enzo & Cass at WrestleMania.
Analysis: There’s the predictable outcome for what happened. No surprise. Poor Gallows & Anderson getting booked like idiots that have never watched WWE programming before and seen triple threat matches set up this way for years.
Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal
Mahal got him some elbows early. Reigns came back with a back suplex for a two count. Clotheslines in the corner by Reigns. The Undertaker’s “gong” hit. Crowd cheered, but there was no sign of him. Mahal capitalized with a running knee followed by a knee drop. Mahal with a body slam for a two count. Running dropkick by Mahal. Crowd started the “Let’s Go Roman/Roman Sucks” chant. Reigns came back with a Superman Punch. He picked up Mahal and hit another Superman Punch for the win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns
Analysis: * Easy win for Reigns as expected. It’s rare for him to win with a Superman Punch, but it works against a lower card talent like Mahal.
Reigns said as you can see, he’s not messing around tonight. Reigns told Undertaker to get out there like a man. The show went to break.
Analysis: The commercial in that spot was a way to keep people tuned in thinking Undertaker would show up.
Reigns was in the ring waiting for Undertaker.
The music of Shawn Michaels hit as Mr. WrestleMania made his entrance to a huge ovation. It was a surprise. Loud “HBK” chants for Michaels, who was rocking a cowboy hat in the ring. Reigns told Michaels it’s good to see him and Detroit loves you. Reigns said he didn’t call out HBK, he called out The Undertaker.
Michaels said he’s not going to waste his time. Michaels noted that a few moments ago that gong went off and Reigns got distracted. Michaels told Reigns he needs to understand that this far out of WrestleMania and he’s already set up shop in that head of years. Michaels told him that come WrestleMania he’s (Taker) going to eat you (Reigns) alive. Fans chanted “yes” for that. Reigns said it’s not happening. Reigns said that Undertaker should think about what it’s going to be like to be in the ring with Reigns.
Michaels said he’s on Reigns’ side and he said it’s his yard. Michaels told Reigns to acknowledge that he (Michaels) is Mr. Wrestle-freaking-mania. Huge pop for that. Michaels said he knows what it’s like to be on top and to have everybody secretly hoping you’re going to fail. Michaels told Reigns that he’s not there to get confrontational – he said that he is on Roman’s side. Reigns said he appreciated the advice and the help. Reigns told Michaels that with all due respect, “The Undertaker retired you.” Reigns said that he’s the guy that will retire him. Reigns dropped the microphone and left while Michaels stared at him.
Analysis: Good promo with Michaels there as the veteran putting over how dangerous Undertaker is. Reigns showed confidence and a cocky attitude with that promo. It wasn’t necessarily a heel promo, but it’s possible that he could be going in that direction. His line about Taker retiring Shawn and Reigns wanting to retire Taker was well done.
Reigns was on the ramp looking at Michaels. Strowman ran at Reigns and knocked him over. Reigns went crashing to the floor. Crowd chanting “Thank You Strowman” for that. Referees checked on Reigns as a replay showed Strowman running over Reigns. The fans chanted for HBK as the segment ended.
Analysis: Cheap attack by the big man Strowman that led to cheers for him. Strowman’s feud with Reigns continues even with Reigns in a match at WrestleMania with Undertaker. I think Strowman will win the battle royal at WrestleMania.
Backstage, Stephanie and Mick were shown talking in the office. Foley said it’s not a decision he’s taking likely. Stephanie said she knows it’s not an easy decision for him, but he has to make for his personal growth, professional growth and the company’s growth. Foley didn’t understand why somebody ahs to lose their job before WrestleMania. Stephanie said he has one hour to make this decision and if he doesn’t then she’ll make a decision that he may not like.
Analysis: They keep teasing the idea that she may fire Foley, so that adds to it.
The announcers talked about the dilemma that Foley is in.
A video package aired about Austin Aries attacking Neville last week on Raw followed by his promo on 205 Live as well. It was the end of Aries as an announcer and he’s back to being an “in-ring expert” as he called himself.
Aries vs. Ariya Daivari is up next.
Austin Aries made his entrance. This is his Raw in-ring debut.
Austin Aries vs. Ariya Daivari
Aries with armdrags early on followed by a dropkick. Neville was shown watching on a monitor backstage. Neville is in his ring gear watching television? Weird. Daivari with a back body drop over the top rope to take control. Hard clothesline by Daivari earned a two count. Hard chop by Daivari. Aries came back with a clothesline, back elbow, hard chop to the chest and a gutbuster. Spinning elbow to the chest by Aries. Aries dumped Daivari out of the ring followed by a suicide dive. Aries with a knee breaker followed by an overhead suplex that dumped Daivari on his head. Aries hit the roaring (actually rolling) elbow for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Austin Aries
Analysis: ** Easy win for Aries to put him over strong in his Raw debut match. Aries is one of the best in-ring performers in WWE, so I’m glad he’s on the main roster in a prominent position.
A replay aired of Lesnar and Goldberg interacting last week with Lesnar hitting Goldberg with a F5. Then a replay aired of Heyman and Lesnar from earlier in the show.
Still to come: Bayley vs. Nia Jax.
A video aired about Emma “coming soon.” Graves wondered if they are seriously doing this again. Yes they are.
The match that was set up over a Jetsons movie is up next.
Big Show vs. Titus O’Neil
Show nailed O’Neil with a clothesline followed by a punch to the back. Hard chop to the chest by Show. O’Neil came back with a running boot to the face. Show no sold it, back to his feet and hit a Chokeslam. Show picked him up and hit another Chokeslam. Show hit a third Chokeslam for the win after about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Big Show
Analysis: 1/2* Yawn. It’s 2017 and Big Show is winning squash matches. It’s not exciting television. I know they are doing it to make him look strong heading into the battle royal. He’ll put over Strowman there.
A video package aired about tennis player Billie Jean King for Women’s History Month.
Bayley and Sasha Banks were shown talking backstage. Bayley said she was nervous for the match against Nia Jax. Banks noted that Jax is beatable. Banks told Bayley not to worry about the haters that think she’s not championship worthy. Banks said she’ll win this and then can focus on WrestleMania. Banks told her she’s got this, shook her hand and left.
Analysis: The acting segments between them are usually bad, but this was better than usual. Subtle hints by Banks turning heel at some point in the near future.
The annoying “Green Light” song played to remind us that we are just 20 days away from WrestleMania.
The announcers went over some of the matches that will take place at WrestleMania.
A replay aired of Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe beating up Sami Zayn and Chris Jericho earlier in the night.
Jericho was shown in the locker room with an ice pack on the back of his neck. He was interviewed by Mike Rome. Jericho said at WrestleMania he’s going to get the revenge of Jericho. He said that he wants to show people the true Kevin Owens. Jericho said next week on Raw, his guest will be the “real” Kevin Owens. Jericho said everybody is going to watch…it. Jericho told Tom to hit the bricks and Mike noted it’s Mike Rome while Tom Phillips is on Smackdown. Jericho asked him if he knows what happens when you insult Jericho’s intelligence. Jericho asked if he knows what happens when you don’t know your own name. Jericho brought out the list, wrote on it and told “Tom Phillips” to get out of there. The list drew a big ovation.
Analysis: I’m not sure what Jericho is going for by saying it would be the “real” Kevin Owens, but that’s the best feud on Raw by far. I’m looking forward to it. The List bit was well done and drew a reaction like always, so that’s a good thing.
Bayley made her entrance followed by Nia Jax. Next week’s Raw is in Brooklyn, New York and tickets are still available. If Raw was a better show I doubt there would still be tickets available at this time of year.
Bayley vs. Nia Jax
This is not for the Raw Women’s Title.
Bayley tossed Bayley out of the ring to start the match. Jax sent her back in leading to Bayley hitting her in the head with kicks. Jax knocked the steel steps over as the show went to break one minute into it.
The commercial aired for Smackdown teasing a Shane McMahon response to AJ Styles yelling at him.
Back from break, Jax continued on offense thanks to a spinebuster during the break. Bayley hit a jawbreaker, so Jax came back with kicks to the head. Bayley avoided a kick and wrapped up her leg against the rope. Bayley with a dropkick that sent Jax out of the ring. Bayley used the ropes to hit a stunner like move. Bayley hit a few kicks, jumped off the middle ropes and Jax caught her. Bayley avoided a slam. Jax tossed Bayley across the ring. Jax missed a corner charge, but then she caught Bayley and hit a stun gun using the top rope. Corner splash by Jax. Shoulder tackles by Jax in the corner followed by stomps. The ref warned her, but she kept going. Ref rang the bell for the disqualification. It went seven minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Bayley
Jax continued the attack after the match, but the ref got in the way. Jax went after her again and tossed Bayley back first into the barricade. Jax called her a little girl and left.
Analysis: * Boring match. Bayley barely got any offense in and she looked like a loser after the match. That finish was like the Joe/Owens tag match, so it shows how there’s a lack of creativity when it comes to finish. Bayley has been booked like a terrible champion. The crowd reactions for her have gone down week after week. Putting the title on her too soon was a huge mistake.
Up next is the firing that has been pushed all show.
Next week on Raw: Jericho’s Highlight Reel with the “Real” Kevin Owens.
Also next week on Raw: Reigns vs. Strowman.
The Firing of Somebody on Raw as the “main event”
The Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon was in the ring. She called out Raw GM Mick Foley. Foley received a nice ovation as he limped his way down to the ring. He entered the ring with her.
Stephanie asked him who is the Raw superstar that he’s going to fire. Foley said about ten minutes ago, a name was jumping off the page at him. Foley thanked Stephanie for giving him the tough assignment. She asked him who that person is. Foley said after careful deliberation the name he has come up with is Stephanie McMahon. The crowd chanted “yes” for that.
She said that he can’t fire her. Foley said she’s the one that needs to go. Foley said he valued their friendship of 18 years, but six months ago she lied to him about helping Triple H run roughshod. Stephanie asked him if he wants to find out how bad she can really be. Foley fired back saying he will not be silenced. Triple H’s music hit.
Triple H entered the ring in a suit. He told Mick that if he has something to say he should say it to his face. Mick said he didn’t know if he was there or in the shadows. Triple H said he’s not hiding – he’s running a business. Hunter said his business sense tells him not to beat up Mick and beat him with his leg. Mick said will he do it or will he assign it to Samoa Joe? Hunter mocked him for doing things like getting a cheap pop by saying the name of the city they're in. I'm pretty sure face Triple H did that a lot too with his DX lines.
Triple H said he never would have brought back Foley. Hunter said the reason he worked so hard for the future is because he doesn’t have to look at pathetic has-beens like Foley. Hunter said that Stephanie has a big heart and Stephanie likes him. Hunter told Foley she is the businesswoman that Vince taught her to be. Fans chanted “CM Punk” while Hunter talked, but he wasn’t distracted by it too much. There was a bit of a pause, though. Hunter told him he can go talk about his stories about the man he used to be.
Foley said that unlike the superstars, he doesn’t have to pretend to like Triple H. Foley pulled out his own teeth while noting that he likes what he sees in the mirror. Hunter mocked him again as he wondered how Foley’s kids will feel about him. Hunter noted that Noelle has dreams of being a wrestler and Dewey works at Stamford for WWE in the office. Hunter wondered if his kids will be mad. Hunter told Foley he needs to tuck his tail between his legs and waddle up that ramp. Hunter said that Foley has to have the moment where he realizes that he needs this job for his kids. Hunter yelled at him saying if Stephanie tells him to jump then he better jump…monkey. Hunter told him to get the hell out of the ring. Fans chanted “no” to that.
Foley was about to leave. Instead, he stood in the corner while Stephanie ripped on the crowd. Foley took out Mr. Socko and put the Mandible Claw on Hunter. Huge ovation for that. Stephanie attacked from behind with a low blow on Foley. Hunter took off his jacket ready for a fight.
Seth Rollins’ music hit. He walked down to the ring with a crutch looking like he was still hurt. Hunter told him to get into the ring. Rollins dropped the crutch and ran into the ring. Rollins went into the ring to start a brawl with Hunter. Rollins nailed him with punches to the head. Rollins kicked Hunter in the gut. Rollins ran into the ropes and hit a running kick to knock Hunter out of the ring. Loud “Rollins” chant from the crowd.
Hunter grabbed the crutch and went into the ring. Rollins nailed him with a punches. Hunter hit him in the knee with the crutch. Hunter swung the crutch and hit him in the right knee with it. That’s the injured right knee that Rollins hurt. Hunter applied a leg submission on the injured leg. It was like the Indian Deathlock. Rollins was yelling at the top of his lungs. Referees went into the ring to break it up. Hunter hit him in the right knee with the crutch again. Raw ended with Rollins writhing in pain in the ring at 11:14pmET.
Analysis: It took a while to get to where they were going, but the segment was effective in terms of bringing back Seth Rollins to show that he is healthy. The bit with Foley felt like he was going to end up firing himself or he would be fired, but they didn’t go that route. That’s probably coming soon because he needs hip replacement surgery in the near future. It would make sense to replace him after WrestleMania with Kurt Angle as a perfect fit.
As for the Rollins brawl with Triple H, that was well done. If it was just Rollins looking strong and kicking him out of the ring that would have been fine. Having Hunter go after the knee was a vicious attack that is going to make Rollins a much more sympathetic performer. Rollins is already the underdog face because of the injury. Adding to the sympathy by going after the knee is the right way to book it.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Kevin Owens
2. Mick Foley
3. Triple H
5 out of 10
Last week: 7
2017 Average: 5.41
Average since brand split starting July 25/16: 5.754 (Smackdown is 6.67)
Last 5 Weeks: 7, 4, 5.5, 5, 7
2017 High: 7 (Feb. 6 & March 6)
2017 Low: 4 (Jan. 9 & Feb. 27)
I give it a 5 out of 10.
It was an average episode of Raw. I liked the ending a lot. It boosted the show from being in the 4 range to a 5 out of 10.
There weren’t a lot of interesting matches, but some progress was made on some of the storylines for WrestleMania.
The lack of Goldberg and Undertaker hurt because they are in the two biggest WrestleMania matches on the Raw brand, yet they had no presence on the show. Lesnar just stood there while Heyman talked like usual. It's not that interesting after seeing it for a few years.
To the people that think Raw is better around WrestleMania every year I say you are incorrect at least when it comes to this week's show.
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