Howdy partners! @TheMagnumDA here. Man, I still have Texas on my mind. 🙂 Thank you for checking out the Raw Report this week. Before I get started, I wanted to thank Stephen Hutchings (@hutchingss81) for his support, as well as his Question of the Week on Twitter. Stephen asked me to clarify what I meant when I said “Seth is dead in the water.”
I certainly wasn’t referring to the terrible injury that befell Rollins…I simply meant that Rollins’ “face to face” with Stephanie ended with HHH getting more fan support than Seth. I thought this was a bad sign for Seth, which led me to think he was “dead in the water” going into his feud with HHH at WrestleMania. However, after last Monday…who knows if that match will even take place!
We start tonight with the SAMOA JOE contract signing. Steph McMahon and Mick Foley are in the ring together. Steph starts to gush over Joe, but Foley cuts her to the quick and states that he wasn’t happy with what happened last week. He says he’s not happy about introducing Samoa Joe, which brings him out immediately. DAMN, he wasted no time looking dapper. Three piece suit! I haven’t looked that nice since my buddy’s wedding last summer. Steph put over Joe’s attack on Seth Rollins (which hurt Seth legit, as he reinjured his knee during the attack. Yes, THAT knee). Foley pushes for this thing to be finished, and Steph was not happy with Mick’s lack of enthusiasm for Joe. Foley says that he’s been a fan of Joe’s for years, but he didn’t like the company he was keeping.
Joe steps in and says for 18 years, he’s been waiting for this moment. To stand in a WWE ring. Joe says that HHH provided this opportunity, not Mick. This means that everyone is fair game, including Seth Rollins. Joe then puts the entire locker room on notice, saying that the Destroyer has arrived and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it. Joe signed the contract! This brings out ROMAN REIGNS, who gets another tepid reaction. Reigns tells Joe to threaten him to his face. Oooh, boogie boogie. Then, in a subtle touch, Reigns namedrops “The Yard”, saying that this is his yard. So Joe has a choice…either shut your mouth, or Roman will cave it in for you. Again…boogie boogie. Foley says that as long as he’s GM, he can still make matches. So tonight we’re going to get Samoa Joe’s in-ring debut vs. Roman Reigns!
Bayley vs. Nia Jax
This is one of the first times that I can remember Bayley getting a massive pop on Monday night. I mean, she’s received really good cheers from the crowd, but this felt like a new level of support. They announced Charlotte vs. Bayley next week. Bayley could take the title before Roadblock! The match starts like your typical David & Goliath showdown (but with ladies!) Jax does the classic Irish Whip/Charge move, but Bayley dodges her and Nia smacks the post. Bayley follows this up with another whip into the post outside. Nia is being counted out as Charlotte arrives on the apron. Bayley throws Charlotte over the ropes and smacks her with a dropkick. Nia comes back in and catches Bayley with the Samoan Drop. 1, 2, 3! Wow. Not bad, but the interference thing is a bit formula, at this point.
Winner: Nia Jax (**1/4)
Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho for the US Championship is announced for later tonight. Why not save this for the PPV?
Recap of last week’s Universal Championship match. It was pretty good, all things considered…but again, more interference!
Braun Strowman vs. C.C. Bonin, Rob Pelly, Dustin Wallace and Brent Riley
I thought C.C. Bonin was C.C. Everton! Braun destroys these guys as Corey tells Byron to shut up. I am more entertained by Corey. One of the guys leaves and the crowd has a hearty laugh over it. Braun is just hitting guys…it’s really not even wrestling. I mean, I know Austin got through his career on slugfests, but in 2017 I’m not too impressed by these squashes. Braun stacks the geeks up like jenga pieces and pins them. He then warns Foley that he’s coming to find him, because he demands competition. Wasn’t he talking about this a few months ago?
Winner: Braun Strowman (No Stars)
After the match, Braun Strowman finds Foley and tells him that he wants competition. Foley tells him that he gets Roman Reigns at Fast Lane.
Video package to build Akira Tozawa. He’s pretty incredible.
Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak
Cole calls Akira “The Stamina Monster” as they shake hands. You know, a monster of any kind should never demonstrate this much chivalry. That’s from the Jack Gallagher “Book of Gentleman Rules”. Don’t believe me? “Article XLIII, Chapter VI, Section 8.2: A monster of any kind should never demonstrate chivalry.” IT’S IN THE BOOK! They lock up and trade armbars. Gulak gets him in a headlock, and Akira fights out. Gulak with a shoulderblock and a unique counter to roll up for two. It’s like he took out Tozawa’s leg! Awesome. They trade STRONG STYLE shots and Akira kicks him in the mouth. A big stomp gets two. I like Akira guy…he looks crazy.
Gulak knocks him out of the ring, and then brings him back in for a cover. Well then, WHY KNOCK HIM OUT OF THE RING?! Akira fights out of another headlock, and hits a Frankensteiner. A huge forearm knocks Gulak out of the ring, and a suicide dive headbutt nails Gulak on the outside! Back inside, Akira hits the Shining Wizard for ONE, TWO, NO! Kicks to Gulak by Tozawa, and a sidestep leads to a PERFECT German Suplex for ONE, TWO, THREE! Akira wins in his debut!
Winner: Akira Tozawa (**1/2)
After the match, Brian Kendrick shows up and shakes hands with Akira. Don’t do it, Tozawa.
Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho come out together! Look at these guys…such buddies! Owens reminds everyone that last week, he told them that he proved them wrong. Wow, I’ve never heard someone recap their own promo before. He goes on to say that he survived Braun Strowman, and he remained Universal Champion. Jericho butts in and tells everyone that he’s going to successfully defend his US Championship against Sami Zayn. Jericho then goes off on a weird tangent, as he puts TOM BRADY on the list because people called him “The G.O.A.T.” (Greatest of all-time). Well, that was a pretty historic comeback, Chris. Y2J then calls Brady a “stupid idiot” to delight of the fans.
Jericho then starts to talk about WrestleMania, and how the main event should be Jericho vs. Owens, title-for-title. The crowd chants “YES!” as Owens tries to hide his disdain. Owens tells Jericho straight up, “I’m not sure if I could fight my best friend.”
Aw…and then GOLDBERG’S music hits. Goldberg comes out to a pretty good reaction, and tells both men that they have two choices. They can either step aside and live, or grow a pair and take him on. Is he auditioning for a movie or something? Goldberg then goes off on a separate tangent as Owens and Jericho step aside…and live, I guess. Goldberg accepts Lesnar’s challenge to WrestleMania XXXIII, and Jericho gives him the most insincere applause. Jericho is GOLD. Owens tells Goldberg that their match sounds good on the undercard, while Owens vs. Jericho would be the main event. Owens asks Goldberg if he knows why he’s the longest reigning Universal champion, and Goldberg says it’s because he never faced him. Ooh!
A challenge is made for Fast Lane (Goldberg vs. Owens for the Universal championship), and Jericho interrupts again! He says that Goldberg can’t just come down here and make challenges. He asks Bill if he knows what happens when you try something like that (while they’re spitting FIRE, mind you). Goldberg grabs the list, writes his name down, and declares himself on the list! Jericho is upset! Haha! “That’s not the way this works”, Jericho exclaims. Jericho then tells Goldberg that he will face Kevin Owens for the Universal championship at Fast Lane, accepting the challenge on KO’s behalf. Owens is livid!
After this LONG interview, we get KO and Y2J backstage. Owens asked Jericho why he accepted the challenge on his behalf, and Jericho said that he’ll always have KO’s back. Owens tells him that accepting a match with Goldberg (who he declared a “maniac”) is not having his back, and then he walked off. Cue “Lately” by Stevie Wonder.
WWE Tag Team Championship (Raw)
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus
How many times have we seen these guys fight each other on Raw? Feels like they’ve been feuding forever. Enzo and Cass come out for scouting. Sheamus with a slam on Anderson to start, followed by double knees for two. Tag into Cesaro, who hits an axe-handle off the top. Armbar is countered by Anderson, and Cesaro is taken into the corner.Gallows tags in and they trade uppercuts. Cesaro counters a whip into the ropes, and Sheamus tags in. He hits some forearms and uppercuts, but Gallows pulls him into the opposite corner, tagging Anderson. Sheamus pulls HIM into the opposite corner, and a double team move gets two. Cesaro continues with European uppercuts, and a running Uppercut in the corner. Gallows with a distraction, and Anderson attacks Cesaro in the corner. He takes him outside, where Gallows is waiting with a boot.
After the break, we see Sheamus knocked down on the outside as Cesaro fights off Anderson and Gallows. Anderson gets a spine buster for ONE, TWO, no…the crowd tries to get Cesaro back into the match, and Cesaro dodges an attack by Anderson in the corner. Sheamus tags in and he’s A HOUSE OF FIERY RED HAIR! Sheamus hits that awkward spinning heel kick in the corner. Shoulder block from the top gets ONE, TWO, NO! Sheamus misses the senton drop, but Anderson misses his attack and rolls out to the apron. FOREARMS FROM THE APRON, COUNT ALONG EVERYBODY. Great double team by Sheamus and Cesaro, but the pin is broken up. Gallows gets hit with an uppercut to the outside. Gallows decks Enzo, but Cass returns serve with a boot! This is a DQ, of course.
Winners: Gallows and Anderson by DQ (**)
Video package for Black History Month. This is followed by a Seth Rollins update, where they think his status for WrestleMania is in “serious doubt.” That doesn’t sound good at all. Rollins on Twitter: “The only way to wear the crown is to slay the king. I know what must be done and there’s nothing that can stop me.”
New Day come out to talk about the Shining Stars Resort. Kofi asks, “Whooo…has actually seen this place?” They all yell together, “NOBODY!” to the cheers of the crowd. Kofi says it’s not real, and Woods tells us that the people want magic. That’s why there were unicorns and music and cereal and…ice cream?
The New Day vs. the Shining Stars
Nothing really happening in this match. “Ice Cream” chant breaks out as Woods hits a missile dropkick on Primo Colon. Hot tag to Big E who is ANOTHER house of fire! Splash onto Epico, followed by an Irish Whip for Primo into Xavier’s waiting feet! The finish showed Epico trying to hit his finish on Big E, but Xavier makes a blind tag and nails Epico with the Midnight Hour for the ONE, TWO, THREE!
Winners: New Day (*)
WWE United States Championship
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Sami Zayn
Zayn with some Steamboat armdrags early on, followed by an armbar and a mahistral for ONE, TWO, no. Whoa, that was quick. Jericho goes outside and KO continues to encourage him. CHASE on the outside and Jericho catches him AGAIN with a kick. Didn’t you learn last week, Sami?! Jericho chops him in the corner and drives the knee in the mouth. Jericho taunts and Sami catches him in the corner with an elbow. Zayn springs up one rope to his a cross body. That’s such a dangerous move. Sami hits a dropkick on Jericho, and Y2J goes to the outside. Zayn hits a suicide dive as Kevin half-heartedly cheers on Y2J. “Come on, Chriss!”
After the break, Y2J taunts and Zayn fights back. Zayn misses a dropkick and Jericho hits the moonsault. Fans seem to love both of these guys. Jericho tells the crowd to “Shut up!” but gets caught in an Exploder Suplex in the corner. Heluva Kick is caught into the Walls of Jericho! Roll-up by Zayn, ONE, TWO, NO! Blue Thunder Bomb, and ONE, TWO, NO! Wow. Great sequence. Fans cheer for Zayn as he goes to the top rope. Jericho goes after him, and they have a great sequence leading to an AWESOME COUNTER by Jericho. Walls of Jericho on Zayn! Jericho pulls him in the middle, but Zayn fights to the ropes! KO with a superkick to Zayn’s face leads to the Codebreaker! ONE, TWO, THREE! Another really good match.
Winner: Chris Jericho (***)
Austin Aries is out with Neville for an interview. Aries announces a five-way elimination match for tomorrow night on 205 Live, and then asks Neville if any of the competitors scare him. Neville says that he is scared of no one, and says that the winner of that match will bend to a knee at Fast Lane. Cedric Alexander comes out, and eventually all of the other challengers make their way out. They brawl, and it leads to a tag match.
Cedric Alexander, Jack Gallagher and T.J. Perkins vs. Neville, Noam Dar and Tony Nese
Caught in progress with Nese vs. Jack. Nese has Gallagher in a front face lock as Jack tries to tag his partners. Nese knocks Cedric off the apron, but catches a headbutt from Jack. Nese tags in Dar, and this upsets Neville. Jack gets the hot tag to Perkins, who hits a sitting drop kick while attachking his partners. Dar with a SICK dropkick, but his attempt to tag Neville is refused. Neville then walks out. Fascinating stuff. Perkins rolls up Dar, but Nese breaks it up. Nese and Dar are yelling at Neville, but this leads to a Detonation Kick by TJ. Cedric tags in, and immediately hits his backbreaker finish for the ONE, TWO, THREE!
Winners: Cedric Alexander, Jack Gallagher and T.J. Perkins
Jericho is backstage with KO, and a declaration is made…next week will be a FESTIVAL OF FRIENDSHIP on Raw. The biggest celebration in WWE history! I guess this is Jericho’s “This is Your Life”, LIVE from Las Vegas. Wow. This is gonna be good. He’s a hell of a shillman. KO says he can’t wait.
Recap of opening promo, followed by a package video for Elimination Chamber. Looks good this year!
Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns
Joe repeats his attack from last week, decking Reigns from behind during Roman’s entrance. Joe beats him down on the outside as the fans chant “Joe!” Reigns is a beaten man on the outside. RUNNING SENTON SPLASH to the outside. This guy is dangerous. Joe takes him inside and continues to unleash the pain. Punches, chops, and headbutts in the corner. Reigns finally fights back, throwing Joe to the outside to beat him down. They go back inside, where Reigns throws Joe to the opposite corner. Joe catches him with that blistering kick in the corner.
Joe and Reigns trade fists and the crowd goes crazy! Reigns starts hitting him with clotheslines while selling the ribs. Joe is hoisted up, but he elbows Reigns in the back of the head. Reigns pulls him in the corners to hit the ten clotheslines. Reigns tries to put him up again, but Joe throws him in the ropes to hit an inverted drop and a running boot for ONE, TWO, NO! Reigns is selling incredibly well…they’re making Joe look great here. Fists in the corner and a foot to the face by Joe. Reigns finally gets Joe up and hits a Samoan Drop for ONE, TWO, NO! Joe rolls outside and Reigns catches him with the Drive-By dropkick on the apron!
Reigns hits the Superman Punch and Samoa Joe goes down! BRAUN STROWMAN’S music hits, and he walks to the ring looking for Reigns. Roman hits the Superman Punch on Strowman, but as he is distracted, Joe hits the Ghetto Blaster! This is followed by the Urange Suplex! ONE, TWO, THREE! Wow! What a debut!
Winner: Samoa Joe (***)
After the match, Strowman destroys Roman Reigns. Outside the ring, Strowman throws the steps right in Roman’s face. This guy is turning into a beast. Running powerslam THROUGH THE BARRICADE! Holy cow! What an ending to Raw! The show goes to credits after this.
Final Thoughts: Great ending! Good matches too…no complaints from me. See you next week!