So last week I was a little negative. I was a little hard on the ending of Raw and I’m woman enough to admit that. I am ready to give them a chance to prove to me that Seth Rollins having a triumphant return only to be battered by HHH within the same 5 minute window was a good idea. Let’s Go!
We open with Mick Foley reading from some notecards HHH gave him. He gives an impassioned speech about how terrible that is after 31 years, and how he wanted to give and do so much more but the mic is cut and Stephanie is out to belittle him and say she has two words for him: YOU’RE FIRED! Ah, damn. I did not see that coming. Not from even centimeters away. Sami Zayn is out to defend Mick and before he can also get fired Samoa Joe interrupts and gets himself inserted into a match with Sami Zayn – immediately!
Samoa Joe vs Sami Zayn
Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn give us a great opening match! As if we had any doubts. It’s mostly a Samoa Joe fest with Sami perfectly playing up the underdog throughout the match and when we get the DDT on the outside off the apron the crowd should be super hot, and they’re…loud but if we can get a CM Punk chant, we can get a SAM-I ZAYN chant, can’t we? Joe wins with the Coquina Clutch which just looks like it must hurt a whole lot. Sami taps, Joe wins. Good ol, Sami.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Mick has an emotional farewell walk where he talks to various members of the roster. He last hugs Bayley who looks behind him and of course HHH is there, looking very smug that scoundrel. He yells in Mick’s face – HAVE A NICE DAY. Jerk.
We get some more footage of Seth Rollins’s recovery, still going incredibly well despite the vicious attack by HHH they’ve shown us twice now tonight. The doctor (Kevin Wilk) says no doctor would clear him in time for Wrestlemania but then still talks about him making it, so we get it – he’ll be at Wrestlemania. Even if it destroys his knee!
Charlotte vs Dana Brooke
This is just for Charlotte to get a win and keep looking strong, but not lost to one of her opponents at Mania. We’ve got a way more exciting women’s match coming up later that nobody has seen before I’m sure, so this is allowed to be lackluster.
Backstage Stephanie runs into Bayley and mocks her over being upset about Mick being fired. Bayley says she used to look up to Stephanie because believe it or not – Bayley as a fan growing up, did you know? I love her, I kid. Stephanie says that she doesn’t like to use her power to hurt, but Nia Jax does and there is another match to get Nia into the women’s title match at Wrestlemania. Wait…so we saw this exact match last week with the same consequences. OH it’s no DQ. Phew. Thought it was the same.
Jericho reveals the REAL KEVIN OWENS. By talking about how much Kevin Owens idolized him as a kid. He shows a picture of KO impersonating Jericho as a kid, then a real screen shot of a DM where KO asks Jericho for advice. Jericho says KO is right and they were never friends. They were never equals because Jericho is Owens’s hero. Jericho drops all the catchphrases out of his hat and tells Owens how HE is the GOAT (his words not mine). He almost puts Owens on the list (I think he’s already there by now…), but Samoa Joe comes out and distracts Y2J from the ramp while Owens attacks from behind and destroys him. That Joe/Owens/HHH stable has to be a thing right? KO does the unthinkable and destroys yet another of Jericho’s lists and rips the paper up over his prone body before eating some of it – presumably his name? The names of other wrestlers? Who knows. The crowd is really hating Owens and it is phenomenal. Good segment with the crowd SUPER behind Jericho and then HATING Kevin Owens.
THE Brian Kendrick vs TJ Perkins
Good for the ring crew that after cleaning up Jericho’s segment they could just move right into the cruiserweights. TJ Perkins looks really good in the opening portion, but Kendrick hits Sliced Bread #2 for the win after that brief showcase. Afterwards he brags about Akira Tozawa not being here because he carelessly left his passport just lying around last week and Kendrick found it. I don’t understand myself how Tozawa left the country without his passport if he lost it last week in Chicago, but this is Trump’s America so.
We get two sets of packages here, one for Roman Reigns and BRAUN tonight, and one for Goldberg and Brock at Mania. They’re fine. Roman is backstage talking about how he only thinks about the Undertaker lying flat on his back after he beats him. Kinky.
Backstage we get Cesaro and Sheamus getting interrupted having a good ol time together by Stephanie McMahon. They were sad to see Mick Foley go earlier so now they have to re-earn their shot at the Tag Titles at Wrestlemania by beating Enzo & Cass and Gallows & Anderson tonight. Two teams on One! They better win.
Nia Jax vs Bayley
This is a fine no DQ match where Nia is able to try and look more like a monster, and Bayley does a good job trying to fight her way back and failing. The crowd completely ruins the match for everyone though because they try to take over doing the Wave, chanting CM Punk, chanting for Derek Jeter, apparently warring section chants. They have been the loudest and most obnoxious during the women’s match, but nah, women are totally still seen exactly the same in all avenues. Nia eventually is too much for Bayley, but this match is ruined for me by that chanting. I just ended up feeling bad for them both.
Winner: Nia Jax Losers: Us having to listen to this crowd
HHH is out for a sit down interview with Michael Cole. He rips into Seth Rollins saying how he got addicted to the roar of the crowd and wanted to make the fans happy! That’s why he turned on him! Which couldn’t be true because Rollins was still kind of shitting on the crowd after he returned from injury, but okay, if it’s to build him up I’ll be fine with it. He mocks Mick Foley and his injuries that the fans are at fault for since he did it for them – just like Rollins. Who he destroyed with his own crutch! He says he’s got tickets for Seth for Wrestlemania, not great ones, but he can go if he wants. He then takes it back and instead says they should do a non sanctioned match at Mania, and he wants Seth’s answer next week but if he gets hurt he has no legal recourse. So next week we get a “Hold Harmless Agreement” signing! That sounds like it’s totally different than a contract signing so I can’t see anything going wrong.
Great Sheamus Snickers commercial
Sheamus & Cesaro vs The Club and Enzo & Cass
Gallows & Anderson immediately attack their tag team partners Enzo & Cass effectively knocking them out of the match and then walking into a brogue kick giving Sheamus & Cesaro the win. What was the point? Gallows & ANderson aren’t good at putting themselves in good match situations. Cesaro & Sheamus get to keep their spot in the title match.
Winners: Sheamus & Cesaro
New Day Segment talking about how excited they are for Wrestlemania where they start by asking Xavier if he has anything to tell them…which is just that he is excited for Wrestlemania. Not bringing them out in front of the crowd was the best decision considering recent events, I’d say.
Austin Aries vs Tony Nese
Love seeing Aries, and I’m always happy seeing Tony Nese out here in these cruiserweight matches. It’s another showcase for Aries because he needs to get some time out there before he just jumps into Wrestlemania. He hits a sick forearm (Discus fivearm) to take out Nese and win the match. After the match Neville interrupts. Neville says Aries’s ego will get him in trouble, but Aries just waves him off and tells him to keep telling everyone he’s King of the Cruiserweights because he’ll end the facade in 13 days.
Winner: Austin Aries
Another Golderg/Brock video package but this one is better than the last so there’s that.
Roman Reigns vs BRAUN
We have seen this match before and really the anticipation was just building for the Undertaker appearance. Him showing up during an appropriately timed Superman punch would have been great, but it’s right before a spear. Taker does…not look great. There was a moment after he beat Braun up that he seemed to remember he had to eat a spear and looked upset before turning around into it. I will always have a special spot in my heart for the Undertaker but this is killing me
Final Thoughts: It was another kind of lackluster Raw. I loved the Jericho segment, I thought the Joe and Sami match was pretty good. So was Bayley and Nia Jax and Aries and Nese. I thought some of the backstage segments were good – Foley’s walk of shame with HHH at the end was good at least. The problem is that they aren’t making this Mania seem very exciting, even though I genuinely feel like it’ll be a great show. It’s just so hard to build when you’re saying your biggest match is Brock/Goldberg and both guys can only show up once or twice to build it. Taker was an expected nice touch, but then he just looked rough. Where is the intensity leading into Mania?? Am I just not feeling it anymore? It’s going to be great once we get there, but it is a challenge to get there.
WATCH THIS MATCH: Samoa Joe vs Sami Zayn. It is very good.
SKIP THIS MATCH: Sheamus & Cesaro vs The Club and Enzo & Cass. It was short and it absolutely didn’t matter.
That was wrestling! Raw! I watched it so you don’t have to and maybe you can make your way through this rambling review! If you ever want to find me it is very easy, I am at hm_pufnstuf on twitter. See ya on the go home! Time for Tiny Tykes!!