Raw was live from the Staples Centre as we open with a package detailing the events that took place last Monday Night, specifically the Festival of Friendship that brought to an end Owens’ friendship with Y2J Chris Jericho.
We began Raw, with KO telling us all about his upcoming match at WWE Fastlane with Goldberg. He claims he is going to beat Goldberg and retain his WWE Universal Championship. When it comes time to explain his actions last week about his heinous attack on Jericho, he simply drops the mic and leaves.
Number one contender’s match for the Raw Tag Titles.
Cesaro & Sheamus vs Enzo & Cass
Cass and Sheamus start this match. Sheamus takes control early on and manages to get a tag to his partner Cesar who picks up a near fall on Big Cass. Both men tag out. This was a real turning point as Cesaro & Sheamus began to take control of the match with repeated quick tags they isolated Enzo and wore him down preventing him making any tag to his 7 foot tall partner. Sheamus & Cesaro try to double team Enzo however, he counters managing to send both men out and down to the floor leaving him with an empty ring to make ground and tag in Cass. Enzo jumps up and tries to make the tag, however he is met by a lethal European Uppercut. With the tag made Cass came in on fire and cleaned house however he only managed a near fall pin for his efforts. Cesaro attempts to hit Cass with the Neutraliser but Cass counters only to be hit by a springboard corkscrew elbow by Cesaro. Following the elbow, Cesaro tries to go for the Cesaro Swing but he’s cut off by Enzo. With Cesaro distracted, Cass hits the East River Crossing and scores a pinfall victory. After the match, Enzo decides to poke fun at the losers only to be brogue kicked by Sheamus.
The cameras pick up the Universal Champion leaving the arena only he’s stopped by General Manager Mick Foley, who announces a match between former best friends turned bitter enemies Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. “I thought you like Sami, Mick?” The champion questioned the GM and warned him Sami was going to get hurt just like the rest of the locker room.
Roman Reigns interrupts the GM in his office and they speak about Braun Strowman. Mick tells Reigns that he is not to get involved in the match for any reason, however Roman claims that Raw will have its main event as advertised he will just go after Braun after the match. The Big Dog is then interrupted by the Tag Champs, Gallows & Anderson. They claim that the 3 men have unfinished business. Mick tells Roman to get a partner, Reigns says he doesn’t need a partner. I guess it truly is one vs all.
Akira Tozawa vs Brian Kendrick
We recap a video package with Kendrick offering his mentorship to Tozawa and the youngster refuses telling Kendrick “I don’t like you.” During the customary handshake, Tozawa refuses and Kendrick demands the handshake. Before the match is officially underway, Kendrick cheapshots Tozawa and continues to attack the youngster before eventually trapping him in the Captain’s Hook submission hold. After the assault, Kendrick is interviewed and he tells Charlie that tonight was lesson number one for Towaza, a lesson in respect.
2 on 1 Handicap match Gallows & Anderson vs Roman Reigns
Anderson tries to start fast and jump Roman, however The Big Dog recovers and begins to take the fight to Anderson who tags in Gallows. Roman remains in firm control taking them both on before the numbers game finally catches up with him. Gallows nails Roman with a big kick on the outside. The champs used this opportunity to take control as Gallows began wearing down Reigns. Roman fights his way out of a sleeper hold only for Gallows to remain in control and gain a near fall. The tag is made and the Champions attempt the Boot of Doom but Roman counters sending both men outside. The Champions regain control on the outside as they double team Reigns, Anderson sends him into the ring and tells his partner to grab a steel chair. Roman counters the attack and uses the chair on the champions leading to a disqualification victory for Gallows & Anderson as he unloads on them. Gallows tries to corner Reigns but he fights back as he hits him with a big Superman Punch. As he turns around Anderson flies in off the top rope but Roman manages to catch him mid air with a hellacious spear.
New Day vs Rusev & Jinder Mahal
Lana is in the ring, she introduces Rusev and Jinder. The New Day come out with the usual fun and fanfare about them, the hosts of Wrestlemania announce plans to make a New Day ice cream for the WWE Universe. However’ it would appear as if Lana has stolen New Day’s recipe. Rusev starts with Kofi, the Bulgarian Brute starts to wear his opponent down early before passing things over to Jinder. Kofi manages to make the tag to Big E who comes in and takes total control of the match knocking Jinder down with a series of big moves until Rusev gets involved. Kofi sends Rusev to the floor before he flies out on top of him. Lana encourages her man to his feet, however Xavier scares Lana with his trombone causing her to throw the iPad up in the air and Xavier destroys it reclaiming New Day’s “top secret” recipe. As the action continues inside the ring, Kofi & Big E double team Jinder with their signature Midnight Hour move to pick up a pinfall victory.
Cruiserweight Title Match Contract Signing
Austin Aries presides over this one with Gentleman Jack Gallaher already in the ring. Jack signs the contract and calls Neville delusional if he thinks he’s a King. Aries introduces the King of the Cruiserweights. Neville quickly signs the contract and leaves. The Gentleman offers Neville some tea and biscuits. Neville mocks his rival telling he’s an embarrassment for being a stereotypical British man. Neville claims the fans laugh at Gallaher. Jack tells the King he doesn’t play Gentleman he is one. The Champion throws the table out the way and mocks the challenger before they brawl and Gallaher connects with his headbutt to Neville.
Nia Jax vs Sarah Pearce
Total mismatch over here as Pearce is up against the destructive Nia Jax. Nia makes quick work of her opponent throwing her around a couple of times before finishing her off with a Samoan Drop for a pinfall victory.
Back in the ring for the next segment as Bayley is out celebrating her title win before Stephanie interrupts her. Steph claims that Bayley’s win was controversial so she should do the right thing and vacate the belt. From one Boss to another, out comes Sasha telling Bayley she doesn’t need to give up the title as its hers she’s the one who beat Charlotte. Bayley refuses to relinquish her title and tells the Universe she’ll fight for them. This brings out Charlotte who says she’ll be taking her rematch at Fastlane. Sasha challenges Charlotte to a match, Stephanie agrees telling them it will be right now.
Sasha Banks vs Charlotte
Charlotte dominates the early goings of this one as she wears Sasha down with a series of high impact moves. She even goes to work on the previously injured knee off The Boss.Charlotte takes the fight outside as Sasha tries to battle back, but The Queen is just too much for her to handle. The action moves back into the ring and Sasha begins her comeback with an offensive flurry that leads to a near fall. As Sasha begins to take control, Dana Brook comes out only to be cut off by Women’s Champion Bayley. The action continues inside the ring however as The Boss connects with the Backstabber and locks in the Bank Statement to beat Charlotte by submission.
DDP is inducted into this year’s WWE Hall Of Fame class.
Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn
Zayn is interviewed prior to the match and he claims that this is the real Kevin Owens that attacked Y2J. He also says that Joe & KO are very similar as they are selfish individuals and they justify their actions by making excuses about Triple H. Zayn claims time will catch up with Joe.
With Owens, waiting in the ring Zayn makes his entrance only to once again be attacked from behind by Samoa Joe who absolutely destroys him on the outside of the ring before rolling him back into the ring for KO. Zayn tells the ref he wants to wrestle, as the bell rings, Owens unleashes a vicious assault on his former best friend culminating with the pop up powerbomb and a pinfall victory for the Universal Champion.
Cameras are in Stephanie’s office as she is speaking with the GM, claiming he wasn’t there for her and Mick tells her she put herself in that situation and he enjoyed her embarrassment. Mick demands that he be treated correctly and that because he listened to and trusted Stephanie, Seth Rollins is on the shelf for yet another Wrestlemania because Triple H said so.
Brock Lesnar Interview
Michael Cole interviews Paul Heyman & Brock Lesnar. Heyman advises Cole to lower his voice and change his tone when speaking with The Beast. Brock then scares off Cole and just stares into the camera while Heyman talks. Claiming Brock disagrees with statements that KO is the most violent Champion in WWE. It is clear to see that Brock vs Goldberg will surely be for the Universal Championship at Wrestlemania.
Braun Strowman vs Big Show
The match starts with a shockingly technical exchange between the two big men. Big Show shoves Braun down but Braun begins to take control. As Show tries to comeback, he gets dropped by a massive right hand. Braun is dominating the Big Show with relative ease. Show tries for the chokeslam but Strowman fights out and connects with a DDT. He only gets a near fall. Strowman stays on top wearing down his opponent. Big Show tries to fight back a huge suplex and little flurry to floor Braun. He goes for a chokeslam and a pin but Braun kicks out! Big Show has Braun perched on the top rope he attempts a suplex. Braun fights out and tries to jump down onto Show. Big Show catches Braun with the Knockout Punch. Show can only get a near fall from this one. Show makes his way up to the second rope, as he comes down Braun gets underneath and catches him in position for the Running Powerslam. Another near fall! Braun hits another Powerslam straight away this time getting a pinfall victory.
Immediately out comes Reigns taking the fight to Strowman with 2 Superman Punches to drop the big man. As Roman goes for the spear, Braun counters with a dropkick. Strowman hits the Running Powerslam to finish Reigns.
Again just like last week, not the best episode ever. I still don’t get the points of the Cruiserweights having their own live weekly show but also then getting TV time on Raw. 3 hours is simply too long, 3 hours of WCW Nitro was boring in the late 90’s and Raw is going the same way. Best moments of the night for me were the building up of the Mick Foley/Stephanie McMahon feud and also that awesome main event, what an athlete Braun Strowman is. Of course we can’t forget the Brock Lesnar segment, yes wrestling is fake and scripted but if you’re not scared by Brock Lesnar who’s also a former UFC Heavyweight Champion there is something wrong with you.