Welcome to tonight’s Raw Report! I am @TheMagnumDA. We are LIVE from one of my favorite cities in America, Las Vegas. Free drinks at the Golden Nugget as long as you bet on horses all night. You basically can turn $20 of gambling into $150 of free alcohol. I’m a cheapskate old schooler, what can I say. ON WITH THE SHOW.
Stephanie McMahon joins us for tonight’s opening promo. She talks about giving Mick Foley the night off, making her in charge. She teases the crowd with Reigns vs. Strowman tonight, and then takes it away from them. I hate that spot. Roman Reigns comes out to a decent reaction, and says he’d like for that match to happen. Steph says that she doesn’t care what anyone thinks or wants. She says that Strowman has Mark Henry tonight. Reigns considers coming to ringside for this match, but Steph bars him from doing so.
Somehow, this brings out Anderson and Gallows, who challenge Reigns to a 2-on-1 match. Boy, they’re just churning out these handicap matches with zero psychology, aren’t they? First, we get Ziggler, and now this. Stephanie does the WORST Teddy Long impression I’ve ever seen (stay white, honey), and we have a match.
Match #1 – Handicap Match
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Roman Reigns
Reigns, a true babyface, jumps Gallows and Anderson right after the match is made. The 2-on-1 advantage sets in, and Anderson throws Reigns into the steps. The match only goes 3 minutes, and ends when Reigns gets his Superman Punch on Anderson blocked by Luke Gallows. This leads to a double team without a tag, where the ref calls for the DQ. Anderson and Gallows hit the Magic Killer, because why not?
Winner: Roman Reigns by DQ (no stars)
FESTIVAL OF FRIENDSHIP…TONIGHT!
The New Day are here! Kofi ribs Bo and calls him a “Social Outcast” (hardy har har), and Xavier tells us that they have the blueprint for their ice cream machine. They will share it after the match. Well, alrighty then.
Kofi Kingston vs. Bo Dallas
Kofi nails a dropkick as the fans chant “We want ice cream!” This is seriously getting over? I kinda liked it better when CM Punk did it 5 years ago. Bo Dallas runs outside and STEALS THE BLUEPRINTS, RIPPING THEM APART. The boys are in tears outside, and inside the ring Bo hits a great slingshot neckbreaker for ONE, TWO, NO! Corey starts talking about taking a shot of “Wheat Grass”. That’s literally the worst idea I’ve ever heard. Kofi reverses for the SOS, and it’s ONE, TWO, THREE! After the match, they dump breakfast cereal in his mouth. Nothing much.
Winner: Kofi Kingston (*)
Charly is backstage with Neville. They’re joined by Jack Gallagher, who tries to quote Shakespeare. Neville immediately cuts him off, to which Gallagher retorts…”You think people don’t like you because of the way you look…maybe it’s just because you’re a bloody pillock.” Ha! Take THAT, Adrian.
Another video recap of the “Festival of Friendship”…feels like all of this is coming to an end soon. I’m incredibly sad knowing this.
Noam Dar vs. Jack Gallagher
I feel like Jack had an incredible cult following, at first…I’m not sure where things got lost, but he doesn’t get the response he used to receive. They lock up and head to the corner. Gallagher breaks cleanly (naturally), and then ties him up in an armbar. The commentators take turns saying “Alicia Fooooxxx”. Dar kicks Gallagher RIGHT in the shin, taking him down.
Dar gets Jack in the corner and hits the shoulder blocks. Noam works on the left leg, putting Jack in the spinning toe hold. How has Alicia had a job with WWE for 10 straight years? It’s incredible. Dar with another armbar, but Gallagher with a nice reversal. He monkey flips Dar, and dropkicks him. Irish whip is reversed by Dar, but Jack hits an ULTRA FIERCE headbutt, followed by the dropkick in the corner to finish!
Winner: Jack Gallagher (*1/2)
Afterwards, Neville stands at the stage and poses with the championship. The cameras go outside, and there’s a Limo. Which nWo faction could it be? Out comes Samoa Joe and HHH! Another Emma promo. She premieres next! She promises to steal all of our hearts…and maybe an iPod case too. HEYO! 😀
Emmalina has ARRIVED! Within 45 seconds, the whole gimmick is killed. She says “You’ve waited for 17 weeks to see the makeover from Emma to Emmalina…and now it’s time for the makeover from Emmalina…to Emma.” Uh?! Just what the hell is going on? I don’t even think Glacier got 17 weeks to build up his debut, but at least he had a debut match. I don’t even know what to call this…Se7en of ’17?
Backstage, Bayley says that she’s going to achieve her dream and become Women’s Champion tonight on Raw. Then we get Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, who get ready for the Festival of Friendship. Triple H shows up and summons ONLY Kevin. Oooo…sowing the seeds of dissent. After the break, we see Triple H doing that face that he makes whenever he’s talking down on somebody. Methinks the target is Y2J.
Braun Strowman vs. Mark Henry
Wow. Zero reaction for Mizark. I almost feel bad for the guy. They stand toe to toe and talk trash, and then they decide to lock up. They break even, and try it again. Personally, I hope they just lock up for 42 straight minutes. They talk trash some more, and then Braun starts landing rights as the crowd chants “boring”. Henry comes back with some rights and shoulder blocks in the corner. Strowman hits a cheap shot with the ref’s back turned, and then he smacks Henry with a lariat. Saxton calls Strowman “Blood Thirsty” (on a show that doesn’t do blood) as Braun clubs Henry to the ground.
Braun locks in the UPPER MIDDLE CARD CHINLOCK, but Henry fights out. Of course, Strowman destroys him with one shot. Braun goes to finish, but Henry fights out once more. Henry hits a running splash, followed by a corner splash as THE CROWD GOES MILD. Henry tries the World’s Strongest Slam, but he falls right on his back. This allows Strowman to hit a VICIOUS dropkick, followed by the Running Powerslam for the pin.
Winner: Braun Strowman (1/2*)
After the match, Strowman blasts Roman out of the ring. Roman finally gets a chance to drill Braun with two Superman Punches, followed by a spear attempt that’s countered into the Powerslam! I tell you what, the fans in Vegas are giving Roman support. Braun finally screams, “YOU CAN’T WIN!” Uh oh, did Roman have another positive drug test?
Enzo and Cass are backstage with Cesaro and Sheamus. They challenge each other for later tonight. Enzo’s one-liners aren’t too hot…”Haymaker Pancakers for those Sausage Nipples!” What is that about?
Samoa Joe is backstage with Michael Cole for a sit-down interview. We get the SECOND reference of “currying” someone’s favor. What, did Vince just try curry for the first time this past weekend or something? I guess it beats steak burritos with ketchup. Joe declares that Seth will not be at WrestleMania this year. Joe is poised, and his eyes are cold and calculating. He carries himself like he’s been doing this for 20 years (which he has), but to have that poise two weeks in with WWE…it’s very unique. Joe throws his mic off at the end. I guarantee Vince thought highly of this interview. Cole sells it well. I dug this promo. This guy just needs to stay healthy, and he’s bound for a HOF career. I think that highly of him.
Sami Zayn vs. Rusev
Corey thinks Rusev is still “handsome” even with the broken nose mask. Eh, not really. Rusev uses sumo slaps to get Sami in the corner, and the ref takes 7 minutes to get them out of the corner. Rusev goes for a home run kick, but misses. Zayn gets powered down as we get a shot of Lana. My goodness. Rusev somehow pulls Zayn by the short hairs to pick him up. Rusev then proceeds to take him down again. Is this a rib? Like, this is Owen Hart offense. This is easily fixed by Zayn getting punched in the ear. Sloppy dropkick reversal knocks Rusev out of the ring. Suicide dive from Sami! Rusev makes it to the ring first, and as Sami comes in, Rusev meets him with a LOUD sidekick. Shit, you can basically see the bruise on Rusev’s leg from where he slapped himself. Yeesh!
After the break, Rusev is clubbing Sami with forearms to the back. Rusev gets him in a bearhug, and the ringside camera visual of Rusev in that hideous mask is pretty glorious. Rusev pummels Zayn, and loses his mask while suplexing him. Zayn is placed in the corner, but he fights Rusev off with headbutts. Sami leaps over Rusev, but he walks right into another sidekick. Plus one more, for good measure.
Rusev tries two covers, but he can’t finish Zayn. Rusev starts to chop him in the corner, and then splashes him in the opposite corner. This is turning into a squash, so Sami must be winning. Rusev misses a splash on Zayn and falls outside. Rusev brings him down and lays out Sami with another lariat. This guy is mean. Rusev comes back in and gets caught with a HELUVA KICK for ONE, TWO, THREE! Whoa, WHAT?! I don’t like it. Rusev took 95% after the commercial break. You need more than 5% to build a proper comeback.
Winner: Sami Zayn (**1/2)
After the match, Sami cuts a determined promo that wins the crowd over. He heard his name called out during Samoa Joe’s promo (which happened), and said that “You’re darn right I’m Sami Zayn!” He goes on to say he’s proud of who he is, and that he’s not a sell-out. Sami brings up WrestleMania, and this brings out JOE. I called it, Renegade! Joe vs. Zayn looks like it’s going to happen at WrestleMania. Probably for the United States Championship, too! Joe tells him to show some respect when he says the name “Samoa Joe”. That should be great at WrestleMania.
Teddy Long is announced for the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame. God Bless him, he deserves it. Super nice guy.
Akira Tozawa vs. Ariya Daivari
Brian Kendrick has joined Aries, Corey, and Michael on commentary. They shake hands to start. Daivari shoulder blocks Tozawa down and Akira gets right up and screams. This guy is scary! Ariya chops him and Akira takes it. Tozawa with a running kick for two. Akira dives in, but Daivari kicks him at the feet, sending Tozawa into the buckle. Daivari takes control with some vicious offense. He gets a few nearfalls, and sends Akira into the ropes.
Daivari catches him with a sleeperhold, and Tozawa fights out. Daivari gets elbowed to the outside, and Akira hits a diving headbutt through the ropes! Back inside, an incredible exchange…Daivari is hit with a kick to the gut. Ariya dives and misses the second high kick, but this allows Tozawa to crawl though and catch Ariya with a SWEET German Suplex. One, two, three! Awesome stuff, but too short.
Winner: Akira Tozawa (**)
After the break, Jericho is on the Titan Tron. He calls the following event, “The WrestleMania of Camaraderie-based Events!”, THE FESTIVAL OF FRIENDSHIP! Jericho comes out in the goofiest, whitest hat I’ve ever seen. He has Vegas Dancers with him! This music sounds like a bad TV show theme. Kevin Owens is here! Holy smokes…he does not look like he’s playing along with this.
Jericho is having the time of his life, however. THAT DANCE. I NEED A GIF OF THAT DANCE. That whole presentation is *****, complete with the Canadian Vegas logo for the FESTIVAL OF FRIENDSHIP! The fans are into it. Jericho tells us about meeting Mr. Ralph Gugenheim, leading to this FRIGGIN WEIRD statue that costs $7,000. Owens calls it a “steal”, and the crowd laughs. Awesome. Then there is a painting of “THE CREATION OF KEVIN”. I can’t even describe the photo. Okay, maybe I can. Someday. Jericho with the line of the night…”It’s art! you don’t need pants!”
Y2J then introduces us to Friendship The Magician, and the fans boo?! Then there’s some D-level magic done, and the fans are still tepid. KO says that his 9 year old son can do these tricks. Jericho then calls out Friendship, and says that when you don’t impress KO, YOU MAKE THE LIST! Crowd goes batshit. Jericho says, “Why don’t you do another trick and disappear!?” KO asks where Jericho got that guy, and Jericho with another winning line…”Craigslist.”
Jericho then tells KO that the real reason he put this together was to finally get his hands on Goldberg. He tells the fans that Goldberg is “…GOING TO GET….(commercial break)….IT!” This guy’s oddly brilliant. I love it. How does this get topped? GILLBERG! KO immediately lays out poor Duane Gill and comes back into the ring. Chris declares, “YOU JUST BEAT HIM!” KO is furious because he thought there’d be an actual beatdown on Goldberg.
Jericho says that it was just a joke, and he thought it was kinda funny. Chris says some very heartfelt words about truly enjoying his time with Kevin, and the fans actually give him sincere applause.
Then, in one of the greatest turns in Raw history, Kevin unveils the one present he gave Chris…”The List of KO”. There’s only one name on the list…oh no. It’s Chris Jericho. Owens immediately lays waste to Jericho, destroying the entire set along the way. You had to know this was coming, but Kevin’s attitude during this entire segment has been played beautifully.
The climax of this segment is Kevin Owens power-bombing Chris Jericho into the ring apron. Y2J gets pulled into the ring, and KO tells him that he hates him…and THROWS HIM THROUGH THE INSANELY, OBSCENELY EXPENSIVE JERITRON 6000. Glass shatters everywhere, and the place COMPLETELY boos Kevin out of the building. Refs are there with towels for Jericho. This is complete genius. If I rated angles, this would be damn close to *****. WrestleMania, here they come. I cannot wait.
After the break, they load Jericho up in the meat wagon. Ironically, he had the towel over his eye. As Shawn Michaels warned him…”An eye for an eye.”
Enzo and Cass make their entrance, and Enzo immediately fumbles the live mic. BUDDABLOMBOOOOM, REALEST DUDES IN THE ROOM, HOW YOU DOIN. They have a cheesy bit where Enzo was holding marshmellows in his hand because Cesaro was “Swiss Miss”. Or something like that. No wonder he couldn’t hold the mic.
Enzo Amore vs. Cesaro
On paper, this feels like a mismatch. Cesaro takes advantage, and then carries Enzo around. Enzo gets caught in the ropes, and the crowd laughs. Enzo tries a rollup, but gets immediately picked up for a backbreaker. HARD double stomp to Enzo. Corey’s mood has improved slightly, for those caring. Running uppercut from Cesaro, following by another in the corner…and ANOTHER in the corner. Enzo catches him with a boot and a sloppy DDT from the middle rope. Enzo starts to run the ropes for a dive, but Cesaro runs in and tosses Enzo in the air into a YUGE European Uppercut. One, Two, Three! Wow, that was quick work. Corey found the match therapeutic, in light of what happened in the previous segment.
Winner: Cesaro (*)
Backstage, Charlotte and Sasha talk trash to each other backstage.
Main Event – Raw Women’s championship
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Bayley
These title changes are booked brilliantly. Lose on Raw, win it back at the PPV. Winning formula! Does it continue tonight? Charlotte takes Bayley to the ropes in their opening grapple. Charlotte takes advantage of the arm, bringing Bayley to the canvas. Charlotte stops to pose, and Bayley rolls her up for ONE, TWO, NO! Bayley finally gets the wristlock, and rolls through it multiple times.
Charlotte collects herself on the outside, and take Bayley to the corner. Bayley shoves her back, and HARD. Charlotte rolls out of the ring as we go to commercial. After the break, Charlotte catches Bayley with a knee. Bayley is thrown from pillar to post, and Bayley is HULKING UP. Charlotte gets 10 buckles to the face, but she’s able to fight back after a wicked rollup where Bayley’s head smacks the bottom turnbuckle. Charlotte throws some BLOWS onto Bayley’s face, followed by boots to the throat. The psychology is on Bayley’s neck. Charlotte gets a standing chinlock, but Bayley nails her with a jawbreaker.
Charlotte catches her with a neck vice that looks SICK. Charlotte takes a moment to tell the fans to shut up. A true Flair. Another neckbreaker basically lays Bayley out. ONE, TWO, NO! Bayley kicks out. Charlotte with a classic Flair knee drop. This is followed by a classic Flair chop in the corner. WHOO! Standing Dragon Sleeper by Flair on Bayley, wrenching her neck. Bayley reverses, and Charlotte is dropkicked in the corner. Bayley’s whip is reversed, and Charlotte misses in the corner. She rallies with a mafia kick to Bayley’s face, causing Bayley to go to the outside.
Charlotte is double vicious on the outside, stepping on Bayley while she is down. Charlotte with a sloppy but incredible moonsault from the table to Bayley. She throws Bayley inside and tries a ONE, TWO, NO! She tries again and no! Charlotte is back in control. This has been a pretty rad match. Charlotte and Bayley trade blows, and Bayley takes advantage with forearms. They run the ropes and crash into each other with a cross body attempt.
Bayley takes advantage and hits her signature moves, peaking with the Jannetty rolling elbow from the top rope. ONE, TWO, NO! Bayley hits a SICK hotshot into the ropes. Side suplex by Bayley! Macho Man Elbow! ONE, TWO, TH-NO!!! Crowd is starting to percolate. Charlotte thrown into the ropes, but catches Bayley with a boot. Charlotte goes to the top, but Bayley catches her with forearms and a FRANKENSTEINER OFF THE TOP! ONE, TWO, NO!
The crowd is starting to go crazy. Dana Brooke comes out, but the distraction actually helps Bayley! Bayley puts the Figure 4 on Charlotte! Brooke scratches Bayley’s eyes, leading to the Figure 8 by Charlotte. Sasha Banks NAILS Charlotte with the crutch, and A BELLY TO BAYLEY! ONE! TWO! THREE! SHE DID IT! What a great match.
Winner: Bayley (***3/4, New Champion)
Bayley celebrates with the fans as Raw concludes. This is quite the scene!
Final Thoughts: There were a few stupid things, but there was a lot of momentous stuff going on. The end of Jeri-KO, the beginning of Bayley’s first title reign, and Joe’s first great promo. I think this show’s a solid thumbs up.