Live-blogging this again, that end to Fastlane left a bad taste in my mouth, but let’s hope Raw improves that.
We come live from Chicago tonight, with the return of Chris Jericho! The crowd is going nuts. Jericho is back in fine form, in the birthplace of Y2J. He calls out Kevin Owens, to ask him why he was betrayed at the Festival of Friendship three weeks back. To which Kevin Owens obliges him by coming out to the ring.
Owens refuses to answer his question, but Chris wants to know why. Owens says he betrayed him because Jericho was never his best friend. Sami Zayn was his friend, and he stabbed him in the back and would do it again. Jericho was merely a tool to keep the belt on Owens, that was it.
Jericho is back as a face,and he has the Friends of Jericho . He challenges Kevin Owens to a fight at Wrestlemania, which he obliges to,if he puts his US Title on the line, saying he can get his Universal title back whenever he wants.
So at Wrestlemania we have Jericho vs Owens for the US Title. But Jericho wants a fight right now, which Owens will gladly do. So we have us a fight now. Owens and Jericho going at it like cats and dogs, but then Samoa Joe joins the fray as well, followed by Sami Zayn so it’s just chaos in the ring. Looks like the makings of a tag team match playas!
But instead we get two singles matches, first Up is Owens vs Zayn.
Match 1-Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn-
These two have fought forever, like two combatants doomed to face each other through eternity. So we know we’re in for an exciting first match tonight.
The match is Owens vs Zayn greatest hits, Sami’s suicide dive, Kevin Owens with the pop up powerbomb, not once but twice for the victory. Quick match but it sets the stage for tonight’s action.
It’s announced that later tonight we have Chris Jericho vs Samoa Joe, but up next is a Cruiserweight Championship match, Neville vs the former champ, Rich Swann
Match 2-WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match
Neville vs Rich Swann
Swann enters first, ready to use his rematch clause after being injured when he lost the title. Swann is on fire in the early goings, taking it straight to the King of the Cruiserweights.
Neville regains control, throwing Swann into the tv screen ring cover, then taking him back into the ring. Swann takes the action back outside, hitting a huge Swann-ton bomb on Neville, startling him.
Swann has Neville on the ropes, nearly getting a pinfall. Really fast paced action, as a Cruiserweight match should be. Neville hits a top rope suplex on Swann, nearly taking him out but Swann has the wherewithal to roll out of the ring.
Now we’re back outside the ring, with Neville back in control of this matchup. Swann gets control back but not for long, as Neville takes advantage of a missed leap attack from the top rope by Swann, hits him with a submission and Neville retains the title.
Austin Aries is interviewing Neville post match, asking him how it feels to be on top of the mountain, as the crowd chants Austin Aries name. Neville says he’s done exactly what he said he’d do, and that’s become the king of the cruiserweights. Now Austin Aries challenges him, saying he can take on Neville. Neville doesn’t take too kindly to that, and starts yelling and spitting at him, challenging him to a fight. Aries decks Neville, and knocks him out of the ring, oh it’s on for Wrestlemania! Aries vs Neville! I’m excited for this match. Glad to see Austin Aries back in action.
Enzo and Cass have a backstage segment with Cesaro and Sheamus, and is it just me, or are Enzo and Cass getting stale. Like not clever, not entertaining anymore, just annoying like Cesaro says. They apparently have a tag team title rematch against Gallows and Anderson tonight. Let’s see how this goes.
Goldberg is out next. Cole says, “Spear, Jackhammer, 1-2-3” basically describing the only match that Goldberg is capable of these days. It’s pathetic. How he’s champion is beyond me, other than marquee value for Wrestlemania for casual fans. So, in that I understand, doesn’t make it any better.
The crowd is chanting CM Punk throughout the arena, and out comes Paul Heyman to salvage this segment. He brings out Brock Lesnar, and it really seems to me that to save this segment at Mania, they need to make Goldberg the heel here, he’s not getting cheered by the real fans, just the casuals or the kids who don’t know any better.
Goldberg and Lesnar are now face to face. Heyman talks like only Heyman can, Lesnar extends his hand to offer congratulations, Goldberg refuses, then Brock hits an F-5 on Goldberg, and the crowd goes nuts.
Match 3-Tag Team Championship Match
Enzo and Cass vs Gallows and Anderson
Enzo and Cass come out first, reminding the WWE Universe that they should have been the champs but the ref didn’t see Enzo’s foot on the ropes when he was pinned last night.
The match is fairly uneventful in the first part of this match, Sheamus and Cesaro come out to ringside as we go to commercial.
The match is nothing to write home about, or write online about either, so let’s skip to the end. Gallows and Anderson win by dq after Enzo, while taunting outside the ring, bump into Cesaro and Sheamus outside, spilling Cesaro’s coffee all over him, causing a brawl to erupt outside and inside the ring.
Winner-Gallows and Anderson.
Ravishing Rick Rude is the latest inductee to the WWE Hall of Fame, great choice.
Enzo and Cass will take on Cesaro and Sheamus next week to determine the number one contender for the tag team titles. Pretty sure this is a set up for a triple threat tag match at Mania, which I would be ok with.
Match 4- Tozawa vs Ariya Daivari
I like Tozawa except for that yelling thing. He sounds like a spider monkey that knows how to fight. But his skill in the ring is still undeniable.
New Day is out next with the New a Day Pops cycle they debuted at Fastlane last night. I love the New Day, but it is a shame that New Day has nothing better to do this month but do comedy, no feud to carry them into Wrestlemania, just a hosting gig.
Still though, they make gold out of whatever is given, and they are entertaining at least. Seems we actually get a match in, as they go up against the Shining Stars.
Match 5- New Day vs Shining Stars
Another filler match from these teams, and it’s a squash. Big shocker there.
Match winner- New Day
Bayley is out next to discuss her controversial win last night at Fastlane, wherein Sasha Banks helped her win unwittingly last night against Charlotte.
I’m liking her speech here, she’s one of us, a life long WWE fan that happens to be a competitor and a champion. The girlhood dream come true. Sasha wants to challenge her friend for the title at Wrestlemania. Which is a match I’d love to see. Hopefully with a Sasha heel turn in the process.
The crowd wants to see it but before the match is made, Charlotte and Dana Brooke come out to make their case why Charlotte should be in the title picture.
Every single one of Charlotte’s promos sounds exactly the same, trying too hard to be a heel here. Her dad could do it naturally, it doesn’t feel real from her.
Stephanie comes out next, with her heel shtick, the crowd chants CM Punk again, which she acknowledges, surprisingly. And the crowd shouts it louder. I would love if he made a return to WWE. I’d mark out.
Steph makes the match, Bayley vs Charlotte at Wrestlemania. Mick Foley makes a second suggestion, Sasha vs Charlotte next week on Raw to determine the number one contender. And then on top of that, she makes it instead Sasha vs Bayley, right now. If Sasha wins the match at Wrestlemania will be a triple threat match.
Match 6-Sasha Banks vs Bayley
Back and forth action from these two friends, this is what happens when you’re opponents and friends, you know each other’s next move.
A series of near falls punctuates this match, both competitors evenly matched. Charlotte comes down to ringside, and I’m just waiting for the dq to happen.
Sasha hits Bayley with the Bank Statemrnt, once, she hits the ropes, a second time, and taps her out, leading to a triple threat match at Wrestlemania.
Match Winner-Sasha Banks
Charlotte attacks both women post match, raising the title high with the Wrestlemania logo in the background. Things got interesting.
Up next we get a look into the rehabilitation of Seth Rollins injury. They dropped the ball last time with his return from injury, but this time they’ve let the full face turn happen.
Rollins says he will be at Wrestlemania, one way or another. We see his rehab regiment, looks like he’ll be back in fighting shape by showtime.
Triple H is now live via satellite. He really is a businessman these days, reminds me of a few bosses from my past, like a more intimidating Mr McMahon for this new generation.
He says that if Rollins shows up at Mania and calls out Triple H, it will be the mistake of his life.
Out comes Samoa Joe for his match against Chris Jericho. Before that though we get a promo for The Makeover from Emmalina to Emma. Great, this lame joke again. She deserves better than this stuff, she’s actually quite good in the ring.
Match 7-Samoa Joe vs Chris Jericho
Samoa Joe is dominating the early goings of this match. Jericho has a speed advantage though, but Joe doesn’t really let up enough for that to come into play here.
Joe has Jericho in an arm bar, Jericho isn’t tapping yet though, manages to counter that j to an attempted Walls of Jericho that doesn’t quite get going. The match goes on outside the ring, but Joe hits his Coquina Clutch sleeper hold on Y2J for the win sliding back into the ring before the 10 count. He’s not done with Chris yet either, as he throws him back in the ring. Jericho hits a Code Breaker on Joe though, and Joe stumbles out of the ring.
Match Winner-Samoa Joe
Up next Braun Strowman will challenge Roman Reigns again. I thought they were done with this storyline. Braun cuts promos like an old school wrestler, all screams. I’m half waiting for him to call out Hulk Hogan tbh. Well, it’s not Hogan, but The Undertaker!
Strowman vs Undertaker I like more than Reigns/Takee anyway. But, if this is the case, then he should really have won last night then. Like seriously.
There’s aface-off between the two men, and Strowman backs down. Damn, I guess it is going to be Roman Reigns vs Undertaker after all. They had better turn him heel for this. It’s the only way this works.
Now these two men have a face off. The crowd is chanting You suck to Roman. Roman calls out Undertaker, saying this is his yard now. Taker looks at the Wrestlemania sign, back to Roman, then chokeslams him and walks out of the ring as Raw goes off the air. It was a great way to end the show and set up Wrestlemania. Looks to be a decent card so far.
Not a bad show overall tonight, some filler stuff, but generally I wasn’t bored during all three hours, which is always a good sign.
Show Grade- C