Hey! It’s @TheMagnumDA with another installment of the RAW report. Two weeks until Fast Lane!
We open with a recap of last week’s Festival of Friendship, culminating with Kevin Owens’ turn on his longtime buddy Chris Jericho. From there, we have a spotlight promo with Kevin Owens seated in the ring. Owens explains that he doesn’t have to beat Goldberg at Fast Lane to hold on to his Universal Championship. He teases that he knows how to play “The Game” better than anyone else. Goldberg chants get louder and louder as Owens screams his head off. KO says that the Universal Championship is not a prop, and at Fast Lane…Owens will prove that Superheroes do not exist. What a buzzkiller. Kevin says that Goldberg will bark “YOU’RE NEXT!”, but KO simply says, “You’re nothing.” Finally, he says, “Now, as far as Chris Jericho goes…” and then simply drops the mic to massive boos. Wow. Very good stuff.
Match #1 – Enzo & Cass vs. Sheamus & Cesaro (#1 Contender’s Match)
Sheamus clubs Cass in the corner to start, but Cass returns serve with some shots to the gut. Sheamus comes back with the rolling kick, and tries to put Cass on the apron for the forearms, but Cass powers him back into the ring. Cesaro and Sheamus trade tags to get some offense in, but Cass slams Sheamus hard to quell that run. Enzo comes in and attacks both Cesaro and Sheamus, but Sheamus catches him with a forearm during a trip to the top rope. Cesaro tags in and drills Enzo with a clothesline on the outside. Then Cesaro mocks Enzo’s dance. “How is he doing? Not very well.” Hilarious!
After the commercial, Sheamus has Enzo in the sleeperhold. Enzo fights out, but Sheamus catches him with the Irish Curse backbreaker, followed by a knee to the face for two. Cesaro tags in, and a double stomp gets two. Sheamus is tagged back in, and catches Enzo with a shoulder in the corner. What’s with the quick tags? Seems like extra work to tag a guy in (three times!) after three separate moves. Enzo fights off both Cesaro and Sheamus, but gets pulled outside and beaten down. Enzo fights off, and comes back in after Cesaro who catches him with a European Uppercut for two. Cass comes in and he’s a HOUSE OF FIRE! Fallaway slam, Stinger Splash, but he misses the boot. Cesaro tags in and catches Cass off guard with an uppercut and a cross body press for two. Another great exchange leads to a corkscrew on Cass by Cesaro. Giant Swing attempt is blocked by Enzo, and this allows Cass to catch Cesaro with the East River Crossing. ONE, TWO, THREE! Wow! What a pace.
Winners: Enzo and Cass (**3/4)
Afterwards, Enzo tells the Swiss Superman “We got that Kryptonite!” and Sheamus SMACKS him with a Brogue Kick. Jesus, that looked bad.
Backstage, Kevin Owens is leaving the arena when Mick Foley informs him of a match with Sami Zayn tonight. Owens says, “I thought you liked Zayn.” This guy is cold. I like it. We then get video packages for Braun Strowman and Bayley, as they recap last week’s main event. It’s cool that Bayley has the title, but I have a feeling that this reign will not last long. I’m still in favor of that Sasha Banks heel turn, though. We come back with Mick Foley and Roman Reigns, who are interrupted by Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. Foley tells Reigns to find a partner for a match tonight, and Reigns says that won’t be necessary. Again?
Match #2 – The Brian Kendrick vs. Akira Tozawa
Akira refuses the handshake to start, so Kendrick hits him with a lariat. Kendrick then takes Tozawa and locks him in the corner. Kendrick then puts him in the Captain’s Hook, and apparently the bell never rang. Aries makes fun of Tozawa’s mouthguard. What the hell was that?
Winner: No Contest
Kendrick is backstage with Charly, and I am trying to hardest to pay no attention to anything below Charly’s neck. Kendrick considers Akira’s rebuff to be extremely disrespectful, so he’s going to beat some respect into him. I guess we’re going to need more purple tape at Fast Lane!
Match #3 – Roman Reigns vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
Anderson runs right after Reigns and attacks him, but Reigns catches him with a Shoulder Tackle. Anderson tags out, but Reigns knocks Gallows out of the ring. Reigns has basically taken control right away. Drive-by to Gallows, but a distraction from Anderson leads to a Mafia Kick from Gallows. Inside, Luke beats down Roman and poses…because, well…wrestling. Suplex for two, followed by elbows and a sleeperhold on Reigns. Reigns fights out, but Gallows hits a variation of the Baldo Bomb for two. Anderson tags in, and a double team move is thwarted by Reigns.
Anderson and Gallows eventually pull Reigns outside, and proceed to beat him down. Gallows brings a chair in, but gets knocked down coming back into the ring. Reigns grabs the chair and destroys the tag champs for the DQ. Reigns beats down Anderson in the corner, and then catches a Superman Punch on Gallows. Anderson goes up top, but Roman PLANTS him with an awesome Spear in midair! Match sucked, though.
Winners: Anderson & Gallows (*)
The New Day are announced as the hosts of WrestleMania 33!
Match #4 – Rusev & Jinder Mahal vs. The New Day
Oh no, he’s actually getting introduced as “Handsome Rusev” now by Lana. EVEN WITH THE MASK. Awesome. Byron says that Jinder Mahal now goes by “Hardbody Mahal”. I’m sorry, in 1996…that gimmick works as a D-Level guy in WCW. In 2017? It’s a little…umm, homoerotic. Even by Pro Wrestling standards. New Day comes out and they talk about their upcoming projects, including New Day Ice Cream, a cameo as the Hyenas in The Lion King (wha?), and their hosting gig for WrestleMania 33.
Apparently, Lana stole their recipe for New Day Ice Cream, and Big E makes a “Russian Hacker” joke that gets a huge laugh from the American crowd. Are these teams really fighting over an ice cream recipe that has UNICORN HAIR in it?! What is happening right now?! Oh, for the record…a match hasn’t even happened yet. After the break, Rusev has Kofi in a bearhug. Rusev drills Kofi with a dropkick as HARDBODY MAHAL comes in. I can’t even say that with an ounce of seriousness. Mahal immediately tags Rusev back in and they double team Kofi. Kofi catches Rusev with a Tornado DDT, and tags in Big E who is a HOUSE OF FIRE with a HARDBODY SUPLEX. Utah, make it two! E hits a BEAUTIFUL Warrior Splash, and tries the Big Ending. Rusev kicks E right in the face, but gets thrown out of the ring attempting to hit Kofi. Kingston hits the Suicide Dive. On the outside, Xavier scares off Lana with his Trombone, leading to Lana giving up the tablet with the ice cream recipe! I can’t believe I am typing that. Big E and Kofi hit the Midnight Hour inside the ring for ONE, TWO, THREE! New Day win it!
Winners: New Day (**)
Memorial for George “The Animal” Steele. What a character and what a career. Very touching video.
It’s now time for a Contract Signing between Neville and Jack Gallagher for Fast Lane. Neville will be defending his title against Gallagher. Gallagher declares that he is ready for the match and quickly signs the contract. Are those tea and biscuits?! Very classy. Neville also dashes in and signs the contract. Neville is asked to come into the ring as a “TEA AND BISCUITS!” chant breaks out. Jack is tasting a biscuit while Neville calls him a stereotype.
Neville says he is like the mean streets…ugly, and rough around the edges. Neville calls him a panderer, and says that the fans think Jack’s a joke. Neville says he’ll have the last laugh at Fast Lane. Jack tells him, “I’m not playing a gentleman, I AM a gentleman.” Gallagher says he will not stand for a man who calls himself a “King”. Neville throws the table of food down. Neville asks Jack what he’s going to do about it. Jack spears him and then CLOBBERS him with an incredible headbutt to the outside.
Match #5 – Nia Jax vs. Sarah Pierce
Nia splatters Pierce in the corner, and then throws her around. Nia then hits another splash in the corner, and then drops Pierce with the Samoan Drop for ONE, TWO, THREE. Well, that was quick.
Winner: Nia Jax (No Stars)
After the match, Nia Jax says that she would destroy Bayley and Sasha Banks at once, if given the chance. After this match, a Black History tribute video comes on, but this is for Barack Obama. I thought this was a classy video, but I have a problem with the way WWE has people speak (using the interview style). It’s basically fragments of dialogue already prepared by WWE. I don’t quite understand it. This video is followed by Bayley, who is on her way to the ring!
Bayley comes out to the ring to a great reaction! She talks about having the biggest dreams growing up, including becoming a champion in WWE. She considered the end of last week to be one of the most amazing moments in her life. She called her Dad and thanked him for everything, and then did it again tonight in person. She is such a nerd. Haha…she is now fulfilling a dream that she had since the age of 10. Bayley tells Charlotte to face facts, but then Stephanie McMahon interrupts her. Steph asks if Bayley’s victory is legitimate. She says her three daughters look up to Bayley, who has high moral character. Steph is asking if she’s willing to throw it all away to hold a title that wasn’t earned. It’s a real argument, but it also feels like a mind game. Steph tells Bayley to relinquish the title. Yep, it’s a mind game. “You don’t want to win that way, Bayley. You’re better than that.”
Bayley starts to give up the title, but then she turns her back. This is pretty good stuff. Steph holds her hands out to take the title, but Sasha Banks stops the proceedings. Sasha tells Bayley not to listen to this garbage. She tells Bayley to listen to the fans, because they love her. Sasha says she loves her. Sasha asks the crowd if Bayley should give up the title, and the crowd says no. Personally, I think she should. The chase would be sweeter. Sasha and Steph almost get into it, but Bayley interrupts to say HELL NO she’s not giving up the title. She said she won this because of each and every fan’s support. Steph is gobsmacked. CHARLOTTE IS OUT. Good Lord, this is a NIGHT OF THE PROMOS. Charlotte says that she is invoking her rematch clause at Fast Lane against Bayley. Sasha tells Charlotte to shut her mouth, and Stephanie makes Sasha vs. Charlotte for RIGHT NOW.
Match #6 – Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks
They lock up and Sasha slaps Charlotte in the face. Charlotte kicks Sasha in the leg, and then goes after the injured knee. Sasha gets consecutive rollups for two, but Charlotte fights out. Sasha plants Charlotte in the corner, and proceeds to chop her. WHOO! Sasha misses a charge, but so does Charlotte. Banks throws her across the ring, but Charlotte catches Sasha with a falling knee to the mouth. Sick! Snapmare, an elbow, and a headscissors driver to Sasha. This turns into Charlotte using some unique offense with the headscissors. Banks fights out, but gets a boot in the mouth. Sasha is thrown to the outside.
After the break. Charlotte has Sasha in the Dragon Sleeper. Look at Charlotte mug at the camera during this move. That’s classic Flair. Sasha catches Charlotte with knees, followed by a backflip for a rollup, ONE TWO, NO! Charlotte throws Sasha in the corner, but Sasha catches Charlotte with a hairpull, clothersline, and a bulldog. This is followed by a reversal into another bulldog! ONE, TWO, NO! Sasha follows Charlotte into the corner and catches her with forearms. Sasha misses the double knee, but when Charlotte goes outside, Banks catches her with the double knee. Dana Brooke comes out, but Bayley stops her from getting involved! Meanwhile, Charlotte gets caught in the Bank Statement! Charlotte taps!
Winner: Sasha Banks (**3/4)
Diamond Dallas Page has been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Wow. This guy is an inspiration to 32-year-olds everywhere who still want to become a Professional Wrestler. In this day and age? Good luck.
Charly is with Sami Zayn. Sami is not happy to be right about Kevin’s turn on Chris Jericho. Sami says that just like Samoa Joe, Kevin’s a selfish man who makes excuses for his behavior. Sami Zayn says that Owens needs to be worried about his teeth getting kicked in. Why do I feel like Jericho’s showing up at Fast Lane?
Match #7 – Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens (non-title)
CHAPTER CII!!!! Before Sami Zayn makes his way down the aisle, SAMOA JOE shows up! He destroys Sami and throws him into the post. Joe catches him with some jabs and throws him into the post. Running Senton Bomb onto Zayn! Sami’s carcass is thrown into the ring, as Owens calmly looks away. The ref argues with Sami, but Sami says to ring the bell. Owens levels Zayn twice with a clothesline, and then drops him with the Cannonballs. KO continues to beat down Zayn, and then hits him with a pop-up power bomb for the three. Whoa. Squash City. Wasn’t even really a match.
Winner: Kevin Owens (*)
After the break, Stephanie buries Mick Foley some more. Foley stands up to it, and the crowd cheers him on. We then go to Michael Cole, who is with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Cole starts to ask his question, but Heyman cuts him off and tells Michael to watch his tone. Lesnar stands up and takes Cole’s chair, and then props himself front and center. Heyman tells Kevin Owens that Brock Lesnar will make sure that Goldberg goes into WrestleMania as the WWE Universal Champion. Pretty intimidating image of Lesnar staring right into the camera. Probably meme-worthy, though.
Main Event – Big Show vs. Braun Strowman
They lock up as Cole says the “big bulls are marking their territory”. Braun tries to roll out of a wristlock, and then KIPS UP?! Strowman puts Show in the corner, and then says “I’M THE GIANT NOW.” Show takes Braun down with a single-leg, but Strowman gets a side headlock takedown right after. Big Show fights out of the headlock, but Strowman just HAMMERS Show with a lariat. Strowman with a running boot to Show’s face, followed by fists and kicks while he’s down. Strowman is dominant. Braun charges into the corner, and Show catches him for the Choke Slam, but this is reversed into a DDT for ONE, TWO, NO. Strowman pounds Show in the opposite corner and the splash hits this time. Strowman with gut shots, and a forearm to the back. Cole says this is the most impressive outing for Strowman yet. Eh, maybe.
Strowman with ANOTHER massive lariat to Show for two. Suplex attempt is blocked by Show, and Show gets the HUGE suplex. Strowman tries to go after Show, but Show gives him two boots and a foot to the gut, a splash, and a flying tackle takes down Strowman. Show gets a HUGE Chokeslam! ONE, TWO….NO! Whoa. Show goes upstairs for the Vader Splash, but Braun clips his leg. Show counters a slam attempt, and puts Strowman on the ropes. Show gets hit twice in the gut, and Strowman jumps off the top rope to meet the KO PUNCH. ONE, TWO, NO! Show tries another Vader Splash, but Strowman blows his spot and barely gets Show up for a sloppy powerslam! ONE, TWO, NO! The people are standing. Show tries one last attempt to get the chokeslam, but Strowman hits another Powerslam! ONE, TWO, THREE!
Winner: Braun Strowman (**1/4)
After the match, Reigns takes Strowman down with a Superman Punch, but Strowman hits a low dropkick! What a counter, especially after that match. Strowman then hits a running powerslam on Reigns. He screams right in Reigns’ face as we go to credits. Wow, they put Strowman over big time.
Final Thoughts: Pretty good show. Some creative ideas, but it feels like the big sell is coming next Monday. GOLDBERG will be live next week on RAW. See you then!