Two weeks out til Wrestlemania, and the show is coming to us from Brooklyn, so the crowd should be giving us some good energy tonight.
Mick Foley comes out to start the show, wasn’t sure we’d see him again after last week’s altercation with Triple H and Stephanie, really.
He starts off reading a prepared speech, apologizing to Triple H and Stephanie. And then, he says he’s taking a leave of absence. He throws the cards away and attempts to cut a real promo, but they’re cutting his mic in the back and Stephanie comes out, and fires Mick Foley!
I’m not too surprised, since I’ve read Kurt Angle is going to return to Raw as the new GM after Mania, still though, I’ll miss Mick Foley on the show.
Sami Zayn comes out to defend Foley next. She gives him an opportunity to either apologize and leave or face the consequences, those consequences being, of course, Samoa Joe, who comes out, and their match is starting right now.
Match 1. Samoa Joe vs Sami Zayn
Getting right into it tonight, Sami Zayn flips over the ring onto Joe before we go to break. Back from break and Joe is dominating this match. It’s not entirely a one sided match here though, as Zayn gets some offense in. Overall though, this match is all Samoa Joe.
Joe hits a suicide dive between the ropes like a cannonball knocking Zayn to the ground. That’s really impressive. Joe is so good in this ring, it’s a wonder why it’s taken so long for him to make it to the big time show.
Sami starts to build some momentum near the end, getting a near fall out of the Destroyer, and then some. Joe hits him with that Coquina Clutch again though, and in the end Sami taps out like he’s been doing.
Good opening match, let’s see if the rest of the show can be as good.
Match Winner-Samoa Joe
Mick Foley thanks Sami Zayn for trying to defend him, and Sami says that Raw won’t be the same without him. He says goodbye to Sheamus and Cesaro, who thank him for putting their team together and for believing in them.
He thanks more people, including the Cruiserweight Division, and hugs Bayley once more before running into Triple H, who condescendingly says Mick’s old catchphrase “Have a Nice Day!” Before Mick leaves the arena.
We now get an update on Seth Rollins’ condition, and they ask will Seth Rollins be ready for Wrestlemania? I hope that he is.
Match 2-Dana Brooke vs Charlotte
I was surprised to see Dana turn on her former mentor last week. I just wonder if this will lead anywhere, or will she be the female Alex Riley, turning on her mentor and going nowhere after.
For right now though, she’s holding her own against the former women’s champion. In the end though, Charlotte wins after hitting Dana with a Big Boot to the face.
Backstage, Bayley talks to Stephanie, who informs her that if Nia Jax beats her tonight, she’ll be added to the title match at Wrestlemania. And it’s going to be a no DQ match. This should be good.
It’s now time for Chris Jericho and the Highlight Reel, with his special guest “the real Kevin Owens” . Jericho is and always will be one of the best guys on the mic.
He shows a pic of a young Kevin Owens, a Jericho fan at 16. And then a Twitter conversation that the two of them had back in 2014, where a newly signed Kevin Owens asked Chris for advice.
He says that that’s the real face of Kevin Owens, a fan, and when he steps into that ring at Wrestlemania, and he hears the Theme of Jericho, he’ll revert back to that nerdy wrestling fan that he was. And he just made the…
But before he can make the list, Samoa Joe comes down to the ring, but that’s only a distraction. Owens from behind, starts to attack Y2J, hits him with a powerbomb, and just looks down at the fallen Jericho. He picks up the List of Jericho, and rips it in half, and eats some of it. He hits the classic Jericho pose, mocking him before leaving the ring.
Cruiserweight action up next, as TJ Perkins makes his way to the ring.
Match 3-TJ Perkins vs Brian Kendrick
The two men whose feud started off this whole Cruiserweight reboot on Raw go at it once more. Fast paced action, as has come to be expected from the Cruiserweights. Kendrick hits Perkins with his finisher, the Sliced Bread, for the win in the end.
Match Winner-Brian Kendrick
Post match, Kendrick calls out Akira Tozawa, who says that he’s surprised Tozawa isn’t out there to face him, but he’s out of the country, as Kendrick took his passport last week, and this is his next lesson.
Stephanie tells Sheamus and Cesaro that they will be competing in a 2 on 4 match tonight against Enzo and Cass and Gallows and Anderson, and if they lose, despite earning their way into the triple threat match last week, they will not compete at Wrestlemania.
Match 4-Bayley vs Nia Jax
Once again, if Nia wins, she will be in that title match at Mania, making it a fatal 4 way. Add the fact that this match is a no DQ match, the odds aren’t going in Bayleys favor right now.
Nia dominating the early goings here. Bayley gets a little offense going her way, but Nia is just too powerful. Nia is just tossing Bayley around like a rag doll. Is there anyone that can legit stop her, and not with a quick rollup?
Bayley gets some offense in, hitting her with a running knee strike, and running clothesline, getting a near fall for her trouble. Bayley fights back, but Nia hits her with another slam, and Nia Jax just earned her Wrestlemania spot. This story..I thought I knew where this was going, but now I’m ready to be surprised.
Match Winner-Nia Jax
Up next, Michael Cole interviews Triple H. Triple H starts out continuing the mocking of Mick Foley from earlier. He brings up that the doctors have said that Seth Rollins won’t be able to make it to Wrestlemania, though he puts the blame for Seth’s injury on himself, and the WWE Universe. Now, I’ve said that there’s nobody better than Jericho on the mic earlier, but Triple H is also one of the best in the ring and on the mic as well. There’s a different feeling, when a legend like one of them, the last few guys left from the Attitude Era, when they get on the mic. It’s like a whole different skill set that they have when it comes to promos.
Triple H says he’s officially done with Seth Rollins, and the segment is nearly over, but then Triple H says, “What if there’s a way that I could fight Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania?” Despite what the doctors said, there’s always a way around this he says. He’ll sign off on a non sanctioned match if Seth shows up at Raw next week, so that whatever happens in this match, that Rollins can’t sue the WWE.
It’s going to happen, exactly like I’d hoped it would a year ago, exactly what I wrote about back in January. I’m excited for this to happen.
Match 5- Sheamus and Cesaro vs Enzo and Cass vs Gallows and Anderson
Once again, if Sheamus and Cesaro don’t win this match, they are not going to compete at Wrestlemania. It’s a fairly quick filler match, with these stakes added to try to make it more interesting. In the end, Sheamus and Cesaro win and are still going to Wrestlemania.
Match Winner-Sheamus and Cesaro
Match Grade- D
New Day is up next, in a taped segment, because they don’t want to put them out, well Xavier Woods out there right now, with that crowd, after the Paige leaked pics/video scandal that Xavier was a part of, which they make reference to in the beginning of the segment, very cleverly.
Match 6- Austin Aries vs Tony Nese
Aries won the number one contender spot for the Cruiserweight title last week on 205 Live, and thus he faces Neville at the Showcase of the Immortals, Wrestlemania, in two weeks. He’s been on one hell of a hot streak since returning to in-ring action a few weeks ago. This man is the Cruiserweight Division. And he’s taking control of this match in a big way, really quickly.
We’re back from break, and Nese has this match in his hands at this point. He’s got Austin Aries in a torture rack. But just long enough for me to acknowledge that fact and Aries is back in the fight. In the end, Austin Aries, after some showboating, hits Nese with the Pendulum elbow, rolling senton, and hits him with the missile dropkick, a Stinger splash,and the Discus Fivearm for the win.
Match Winner-Austin Aries
Match Grade- B+
Neville comes out next to threaten Aries, but A Double gets the first word in. Neville says he could come into the ring right now and obliterate him, but why do it now, he can wait til Wrestlemania, by which point Austin’s ego will do half the work for him in beating him, and retaining his title.
Austin says he’s hearing what he’s saying, but what he’s seeing is a man who’s beneath his level. Great interview/promo with these guys. This match could be one of the show stealers of the night in two weeks.
The fact that it’s 10:47, and we still have a Brock Lesnar segment and the Reigns vs. Strowman match shows me that something is getting cut short, and I don’t think it’s going to be the promo. I’d almost go as far as to predict that we don’t even see much of a match, the two come out, Undertaker’s gong sounds, and Strowman hits Reigns with something and the 1-2-3. Let’s see though.
Ok, it’s not a promo, but just a conversation with Lesnar and Heyman that will be part of the pre-match buildup to their match at Wrestlemania Nothing new, just the promo, eh…slightly disappointed here.
Backstage, Braun is getting ready to face Roman Reigns, and now out comes Roman to the ring, wasting no time, as the show itself is running out of it. Still time for one more commercial break because….reasons, and money.
Match 7- Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman
Reigns waits in the ring as his music still plays on. Why they haven’t turned this man heel yet is beyond me. He’d be more effective as a heel than he is now Are the kids really buying up Roman merchandise that much?
Braun comes out next, ready to fight. And the two go at it like they always do, two monsters going at it like King Kong vs. Godzilla. Back and forth action here, neither one gaining the advantage over the other. Well, no sooner do I say that but then Braun has this match in his hands now. Just tossing Roman from ringpost to ringpost. The monster among men’s nickname really suits him. No hyperbole here.
Roman gets out of it though, like he just ate some spinach, and he’s coming at Braun with everything he has. It’s not enough to take him off his feet though. Strowman is looking great here tonight. I remember when they first hinted at the possibility of a Strowman vs Undertaker Wrestlemania match a year ago, and that seemed like a joke at the time. Now, I’d rather see that over Roman vs Taker.
More back and forth action, til Roman pulls off a Samoan drop on Strowman somehow, and gets a near fall. Strowman is outside of the ring catching his breath now, bad move as Roman hits him with a Drive By. Braun is back in control and tosses him into the steel steps, then tosses the steps into the ring. What is he planning? Roman’s back in the ring now, in a daze. Strowman grabs the steel steps, but Reigns hits a Superman punch on him, tries to hit him with another one but Reigns takes control, but then it’s back to Braun..wow, this match is better than expected. And then…the Undertaker’s gong hits, and the lights go out.
Taker is in the ring, staring down Reigns! He looks at Strowman, who’s dazed in the corner, before turning his attention back to Roman. Strowman tries something, but gets chokeslammed by Undertaker, who then gets speared by Reigns. The crowd is booing the hell out of Roman right now, as Reigns leaves the ring and we end this Monday Night Raw.
The show isn’ t over yet it seems, Taker gets to his feet, and stares down Reigns from the ring, doing the finger across the throat move, and the Undertaker lighting/theme hits, to truly close the show. Decent matches tonight, no real mark out moments, but pretty decent show for building up to Wrestlemania. I won’t be doing a Raw review live next week, as I’ll be at the WWE Smackdown house show at the Norfolk Scope while Raw is going on. Tweet me at @reel_geek if any local fans of the blog are going to be at the show as well. I’d love to meet you guys. Keep an eye out for tommorow’s Smack Talk as we get ever closer to the Show of Shows.
Show Grade- C