The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 03/20/17 Review

Submitted by John Canton on March 21, 2017 - 12:24pm
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Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal Review with just two more episodes of Raw left before we get to WrestleMania 33 on April 2. The announced main event for this week is a Fastlane rematch as Braun Strowman battles Roman Reigns one more time.

Live from Brooklyn, New York is the Raw Deal for episode #1242. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks Melo Man for the banner up top.

Raw opened up with a video package from last week’s showing the Mick Foley/Stephanie McMahon argument leading to Triple H insulting Foley, an mandible claw with Mr. Socko by Foley to Triple H and Stephanie saving her husband Triple H with a low blow. Seth Rollins returned to have a confrontation with Triple H using a crutch to his advantage. The video took about three minutes.

There was a live shot of the arena as Michael Cole welcomed us to the show the capacity crowd in Brooklyn. Raw GM Mick Foley made his entrance to a good ovation.

Foley took out a piece of paper and read it saying he’s a humbled man that wants to personally thank Triple H and Stephanie McMahon for giving him the opportunity of a lifetime. He mentioned Mr. Socko, which drew cheers and he apologized for doing that attack. He said that he doesn’t want his problems with Stephanie McMahon to distract from WrestleMania. He read: “With that in mind, for the good of WWE, for the good of WrestleMania and for my own personal sanity, effective immediately I am taking a leave of absence.”

Foley said he was handed index cards ten minutes before he got out there. He said “I’m Mick Foley” and his microphone was cut off. He ranted about how he never needed index cards.

Stephanie McMahon, the Raw Commissioner, made her entrance to boos like usual. She mentioned his microphone not working. She complained about how Foley physically attacked her husband Triple H. She claimed she had to give him index cards because he can’t remember a thing. Stephanie said to him it’s never about the roster, it’s about Foley being liked. The crowd chanted “Foley” for him. She said I’ve got two words for ya. She yelled at him: “You’re Fired!”

Sami Zayn made his entrance. Loud applause for him. Stephanie said nobody really calls her out on her mistakes. Fans were chanting “CM Punk” for some reason as Foley left the ring and Zayn told him to stay. Chant for Zayn, not the guy that left (CM Punk). Zayn said that Foley has shown more integrity than she has her whole life. He continued to rip on her and she said she didn’t really hear what he had to say. Stephanie said Sami isn’t on the level to speak to her at all, so she told him to go to the back and think about how he’ll make this all up to her.

Zayn was about to leave, but he stopped. Samoa Joe made his entrance in his ring gear. Foley was still in the aisle. Stephanie told Zayn he’s going to have a match right now against Joe. Of course he is. Zayn hit Joe with a somersault dive over the top to take out Joe on the floor as the show went to break.

Analysis: A busy start to the show, but it made sense that Foley was “fired” by Stephanie after the ending of last week’s show.  The opening of Raw usually sets up a match either right away or for later in the show. I'll miss Foley as GM because he did a good job for the most part, but all that travel wasn't good for his body. We also know he needs major hip surgery soon, so it wasn't a surprise to see him written off. I think Kurt Angle makes a lot of sense as new Raw GM after WrestleMania. It could lead to a couple of matches for him as well, but mostly just a good way to get him on TV as a face authority figure. Stephanie as a character is annoying and bothers me, but it's not like she's going away. I don't think she's a bad performer. I just think a heel like her needs to put somebody over. I feel like one of WWE’s biggest mistakes is they didn’t have a women’s wrestler stand up to Stephanie and slap her at some point. Bayley or Banks could have got a huge ovation for doing that. Instead, no progress is made with Stephanie's character in the same role for four years.

(Commercial)

Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn

Joe was in control early with a back elbow to the face. Joe pounded on Zayn with punches early on. Zayn tried coming back, but Joe countered with a snap powerslam. They had a bit of a slugfest that saw knock him down with forearms to the face. Joe put Zayn on the top rope, Zayn fought out of a Muscle Buster attempt and Joe kicked him in the head to knock him to the floor. Joe with a suicide dive into a forearm smash that sent Zayn into the barricade. They went to break four minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Joe was still on offense as he grounded Zayn with a submission where he pulled back on his arms. Zayn kicked out of it. Joe with a running back splash in the corner followed by another jumping kick to the head. Joe sent Zayn face first into the ring post and a running knee attack on the floor. Fans chanted “ten” as the ref counted Zayn out of the ring. Back in the ring, Zayn hit a clothesline to start his momentum. Zayn with a back elbow followed by a cross body block for two. Joe pulled him out of the ring, Zayn sent Joe into the ring post and Zayn nailed his incredible running DDT on the floor to a big ovation. Zayn was holding his left arm. Joe slid back in the ring before the ten count. Zayn charged at Joe in the corner, Joe caught him and hit a uranage slam. Joe slapped on the Coquina Clutch submission, took Zayn down to the mat and Zayn tapped out. It went about 12 minutes.

Winner by submission: Samoa Joe

Analysis: ***1/4 A good match with a predictable outcome as Joe remains undefeated on Raw.  Zayn didn’t really come close to winning, but as usual he did a great job of selling and fighting back as the underdog. The DDT on the floor spot always looks great no matter how many times you’ve seen it. Joe coming back with the uranage and Coquina Clutch ended it in an emphatic way. No surprise by that ending. I like how Joe has been booked, but of course I want Zayn to be used better too.

A video aired about Braun Strowman attacking Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble. Later on Raw it’s Reigns vs. Strowman.

Later on Raw: A special look at Goldberg vs. Lesnar.

Up next we’ll get a Seth Rollins injury update.

(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: Earlier this month, I started a countdown of the 33 Greatest Matches in WrestleMania History that will end on April 2, which is the day of WrestleMania. Some of the matches I’ve written about in the last week are: Michaels/Jericho from WM19, Undertaker/CM Punk from WM29 and Edge/Foley from WM22 to name a few. Earlier today I posted the review of Lesnar/Angle from WM19. Every day from now until April 2 I’ll have a new post up, so check out the list of the Greatest Matches in WrestleMania History now!

Backstage, Mick Foley thanked Zayn for what he said for him. Zayn said they need Foley there to stand up for them. Foley said he’s proud of him. Foley gave him a hug. Zayn noted that people say never meet your heroes, but he’s glad he met his. He shook Foley’s hand. Foley walked down the hall over to Cesaro and Sheamus. They gave him hugs. Cesaro and Sheamus thanked Foley for believing them. Foley said all he was doing was doing his job. Foley thanked others standing around like cruiserweights. Foley walked over to Bayley and gave her a big hug. Triple H was there in a suit as Bayley left. Triple H: “Have a nice day!” He walked away as Foley walked out of the building.

Analysis: Good to see some of the face wrestlers (and Sheamus) being sad about Foley leaving since he stood up for them as Zayn said. Funny line by Triple H to end it.

A replay aired of the end of last week’s Raw with Triple H’s attack on Seth Rollins.

There were highlights of Rollins training in Birmingham, Alabama last week.

The announce team of Raw interviewed Kevin Wilk, a doctor in Alabama treating Rollins. Wilk said that Rollins is doing miraculously well and better than he anticipated. He said Seth is the most driven athlete he’s ever dealt with. The doctor said there’s no doctor that would clear him for WrestleMania, but he knows Seth is very driven to compete at WrestleMania. Wilk said if Rollins competes at WrestleMania then he fears they might see him back at that facility again.

Analysis: The expectation is that Rollins will be ready to go for WrestleMania, so WWE got this doctor to talk about the injury as if it was worse than it reportedly is.

Later on Raw, Triple H responds to the Rollins situation.

Charlotte made her entrance for a match after the break.

(Commercial)

Dana Brooke made her entrance. Highlights aired from last week showing Charlotte yelling at Dana and Dana fired back with punches and a clothesline before Charlotte got away.

Charlotte Flair vs. Dana Brooke

Brooke was aggressive early on with shoulder tackles to the ribs. Charlotte escaped to the floor to break free. Charlotte with a shoulder to the ribs, but Brooke tripped her up on the apron. Brooke did a sloppy takedown that sent Charlotte down face first followed by a clothesline. Chops by Charlotte. Brooke avoided a kick and came back with punches. The crowd chanted “We want Paige” to the tune of New Day chants. When Brooke ran the ropes, Charlotte hit a boot to the face and pinned her. It went three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Charlotte Flair

Analysis: 1/2* Boring match. Brooke’s offense is poor and the crowd didn’t care about her. It was smart to book it for only three minutes because it would have made Charlotte look bad to go longer. Charlotte was barely on offense and finished her easily with the boot to the face. That was the payoff after putting them together as a pair for like nine months? I guess so.

Up next is Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel with the “Real” Kevin Owens as we head to hour two.

(Commercial)

Stephanie McMahon walked up to Bayley looking sad backstage. When Stephanie offered a hug, Bayley said she didn’t want a hug from her. Bayley talked about when she grew up she looked up to Stephanie. I lost my interest quickly as Stephanie spoke since the dialogue was cheesy. It led to Stephanie setting up Nia Jax vs. Bayley in a No DQ Match and if Jax wins then she’s added to Women’s Title match at WM.

Analysis: I’m tired of every Bayley promo talking about what it was like for her as a kid. We get it. She’s a lifelong WWE fan, but they don’t have to go that route every single time she talks. As for the Jax/Bayley thing, it’s no surprise since the rumor was a four way at WrestleMania instead of the three way that was set up earlier.

Highlight Reel Hosted by Chris Jericho with the “Real” Kevin Owens

Jericho, the United States Champion, made his entrance. Big ovation for him as he was in his street clothes with a leather jacket and a scarf. He said he doesn’t need a best friend like Owens because he’s got the “Friends of Jericho” in the building: “Cheer me on, man!” Loud “Y2J” chants.

Jericho showed a picture of Kevin Owens when he was 16 years old. It was Owens in a “Y2J” shirt doing the Jericho pose at his house. There’s a picture of Jericho on the wall as well as a chesty blonde woman on poster on the door. Jericho said that Owens was just a fan of Jericho. Jericho: “He was marking out, man.”

Jericho showed a Twitter direct message exchange between them from July 5, 2014. Jericho said he didn’t know him before that. The messages showed that Jericho told him to be himself because he’s unique and Owens appreciate it. Jericho spoke about how he wants to see the real face of Kevin Owens just like we saw at Fastlane. It was a stunned look on KO’s face as Jericho interrupted the Owens match with Goldberg.

Jericho said that he isn’t Kevin Owens’ friend – he’s his hero and his idol. Jericho said in less than two weeks when he’s standing in the ring in front of 70,000+ people at WrestleMania, when Jericho’s music hits it’s going to make Owens feel like the 16-year-old nerd with the Jericho poster on his wall and he’s going to understand what he got himself into. Jericho said Owens is going to realize what he got himself into as Jericho called himself his hero, his idol, the Ayatollah of Rock n Rolla, the best in the world at what he does, the GOAT…Chris Jericho, man. Jericho said if you think it hurt when Jericho cost him the Universal Title at Fastlane just wait to see how much it hurts after WrestleMania, "you stupid idiot." Fans chanted “stupid idiot” for that.

Jericho asked him if he knows what happens and the crowd knew what was coming. Jericho: “You know what happens when you stab Chris Jericho in the back?” Jericho took out his pen to write on The List, but was interrupted by Samoa Joe walking down the aisle.

Kevin Owens ran into the ring and attacked Jericho from behind. Jericho stomped away with knees and punches. Joe walked up the ramp. Jericho tried to fight back, but Owens kneed him in the ribs. Owens sent him into the ropes and hit a Popup Powerbomb. Owens went over to the list, picked up the pages and ripped them up. The crowd booed. A mild “asshole” chant started as well, but it didn’t pick up.

Analysis: I thought the Jericho promo was great. Telling the story about Owens being a big Jericho fan with the picture as proof as well as the Direct Messages from them showed that Jericho could play some mind games with him. I’m glad that Jericho got to talk for about seven minutes before Owens did the predictable attack. Ripping up The List was an easy way to get heat since The List was so popular. It’s silly that The List is so over, but it is and that’s why the crowd reacted to it in a big way. Owens has been booked as more of a serious heel since his attack on Jericho, which is better for him.

The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were shown on camera. Video package aired of Strowman and Reigns before Fastlane with the contract signing segment leading to the turnbuckle collapse spot. Reigns vs. Strowman is the main event.

(Commercial)

Replays aired of the attack by Owens on Jericho before the break.

Brian Kendrick vs. TJ Perkins

Kendrick walked away rather than shake hands to start. Perkins sent him out of the ring early on followed by a wrecking ball dropkick to knock Kendrick down on the floor. Back in the ring, Perkins with a cross body block off the top for two. There was a spot where the ref kept Perkins from attacking in the corner, so Kendrick came back by pulling his hair and hit the Sliced Bread #2 neckbreaker for the win. It was done in under two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Brian Kendrick

Analysis: 1/2* They didn’t get much time to have match. A couple of moves from Perkins and then a crafty finish with Kendrick getting the win.

Post match, Kendrick called out Akira Tozawa. He claimed that Tozawa wasn’t even in the United States. Kendrick pulled the passport out of his jacket and claimed that he “found it” in the locker room last week. He gave Tozawa a tip to leave things lying around.

Analysis: That promo would suggest that Tozawa flies to Japan every week? Lame.

A special look at Lesnar vs. Goldberg up next. Good timing for a bathroom break. Just saying.

(Commercial)

A replay aired of Roman Reigns talking to Shawn Michaels last week and then getting attacked by Braun Strowman.

Roman Reigns was interviewed from Charly Caruso. He said he’ll teach Braun Strowman not to mess with him and said it’s his yard.

A video package aired about Goldberg vs. Lesnar. It started with his WCW Nitro debut in September 1997. There were clips from his wins in WCW and his World Title win on Nitro. There were clips of his 10-year-old son and wife with Goldberg saying that they had never seen him wrestle before. A clip aired from his scripted ESPN interview about him talking about how he may have something left for Lesnar. Goldberg’s victory over Lesnar at Survivor Series was shown. Later in the show, we’ll get some comments from Lesnar and Heyman.

Analysis: It was a way to remind fans of their match since Goldberg isn’t there this week. It fills time in a long show while hyping a big match.

Nia Jax was shown backstage walking to the ring for her match.

(Commercial)

Bayley made her entrance. She’s currently advertised to defend the Raw Women’s Title vs. Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks at WrestleMania. If Jax wins then she is added to that match. Jax made her entrance. She’s not like most girls as the song says.

No Disqualification: Bayley vs. Nia Jax

This is not for Bayley’s Raw Women’s Title.

Jax sent her out of the ring and stomped away. Charlotte was shown watching on a TV backstage. Sasha Banks is also watching backstage in another part of the building. Bayley came back with an attack on the apron, but Jax caught her to prevent an attack. Jax went for a running attack against the steps. Bayley moved and Jax hit the steps as the show went to break three minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Jax continued on offense by tossing Bayley across the ring. Fans were chanting “Asshole” at something off camera that was going on in the crowd. Running body attack by Jax followed by elbow drops for two. Jax applied a chin lock. Bayley slapped Jax in the face, so Jax sent her to the floor. Jax swung Bayley into the barricade four times in a row. Jax grabbed a chair, so Bayley kicked it away. Fans were doing the wave. Bayley stunned Jax using the middle rope and hit a knee to knock down Jax for a two count. Bayley with an elbow to the back followed by a running clothesline for two. Bayley up top with a cross body block for two. Jax tripped up Bayley on the turnbuckle followed by a Samoan Drop for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Nia Jax

Analysis: *1/4 They tried hard, but the match was boring and the crowd didn’t care. They chanted things unrelated to the wrestlers in the ring, so that showed that this storyline isn’t working. Bayley is booked terribly as the Women’s Champion since she lost clean in a non-title match for the second week in a row. Even though it was No DQ they only went out of the ring to do a few basic spots. The use of a chair wasn’t done well. Jax winning makes people yawn, but I get that they want to put her in the match at WrestleMania as well.

The new match for WrestleMania is Bayley defending the Raw Women’s Title against Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair and Nia Jax.

Analysis: That was the rumor since mid-January and now it’s official. I think Bayley will retain.

There was a video package about the late great Mae Young for Women’s History Month. Saxton said Young “may be the greatest sports entertainer of all time.” With all due respect to Young, that’s pretty ridiculous to say that.

An interview with Triple H is up next.

(Commercial)

The annoying WrestleMania song led to a video package telling us it’s 13 days until WrestleMania.

Triple H Has Things To Say

Michael Cole was in the ring. He brought out Triple H for an interview in the ring to be conducted on chairs.

Triple H said he was having a nice day as a shot to Mick Foley. Hunter ripped on Rollins as the crowd chanted “CM Punk” to try to distract him, but he got through it. Hunter ripped on Rollins for losing his focus because he started listening to the crowd. Hunter talked about how never needed the crowd. He spoke about how many times the crowd ruined Mick Foley’s life. He paused for the “Foley” chant, but he didn’t pause for the other chant. Hunter ripped on Foley said that it was the fans fault Foley has the weird ear and the limp when he walks. Hunter talked about how last week Rollins dropped his crutch and the crowd blew the roof off the place, but Hunter pointed out that it only lasted 30 seconds as Hunter beat him up. Hunter told Cole to cue up the footage, so they did.

Another replay of Rollins and Hunter from last week. I don’t know how many times this has been shown during Raw. Too many times.

Hunter blamed the crowd for Rollins getting attacked last week. Cole asked if Hunter would do anything different with Rollins. Hunter said when he first saw Rollins in the ring he thought he was the future and he showed him the way. Hunter called himself the guy that gave Rollins the blueprint to become The Architect. Hunter ripped on the crowd again calling them millennials and noted how Rollins whined about it like they do. Hunter said he made things too easy for Rollins, he became like a crutch and then beat Rollins with an actual crutch. Hunter said that he’s done with Rollins now. He gave Cole some tickets in an envelope and told him to give the tickets to Rollins. Hunter was about to leave, but he stayed for more.

Hunter said what if there was a way for him to fight Rollins at WrestleMania. Cole noted that there’s no way since Rollins is hurt. Hunter said that Rollins wants to fight him and Hunter wants to fight him. Hunter added that the crowd wants it to as they chanted “yes” for it. Hunter suggested a Non-Sanctioned Match against Rollins and he wanted Rollins to be there next week to sign a "hold harmless agreement." He said by doing that Rollins can’t sue him or his wife or anybody in WWE. Hunter asked the crowd if they want it. They cheered. Hunter said he’ll draw up the papers for next week. Hunter told Rollins to “show them” who you are or is Rollins a coward? Hunter dropped the microphone and left.

Analysis: It took about ten minutes, but Hunter finally got to the point to set up the WrestleMania match we were all expecting. Last week the promo by Triple H was great. This week it bored me. Maybe it’s because the show hasn’t been that good so far. I don’t know for sure, but I was happy when it was over. Good job by him not getting distracted by the CM Punk chant as well.

Reigns vs. Strowman still to come.

Cesaro & Sheamus in a 2 on 4 match up next.

There was a Snickers commercial with Sheamus getting out of a tanning bed and he was all burned. Ric Flair was there, they yelled “WOO” and that was it. Does that make you want a Snickers? I don’t know about that one.

(Commercial)

This week on Smackdown, is AJ Styles fired or headed to WrestleMania? Find out on Smackdown Live.

It was mentioned that the singer Tinashe will sing America The Beautiful at WrestleMania. I got a press release from WWE about it last week and I have no idea who she is, but good choice. Sure? Alrighty then.

Sheamus & Cesaro entered for a 2 on 4 Handicap Match because they were nice to Mick Foley earlier. If they lose they are out of the WrestleMania match. Gallows & Anderson – the Raw Tag Team Champions – made their entrance.

Enzo & Cass made their entrance. Crowd chanted “How you doin’” during their opening promo. Enzo mentioned a “Cuppa Haters” in the ring. Cass said they have the home field advantage in Brooklyn. They ended it with the “SAWFT” bit. Graves noted that he was surprised that Enzo didn’t quote Notorious B.I.G.

Gallows & Anderson attacked Enzo & Cass. They knocked Enzo down with a punch and sent Cass into the ring post.

Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Enzo Amore & Big Cass

If Cesaro & Sheamus lose they are out of the triple threat at WrestleMania.

Cass knocked down Gallows on the apron. Cesaro held up Anderson, Sheamus got the hot tag and a Brogue Kick to the face of Anderson to give his team the win in about one minute.

Winners by pinfall: Cesaro & Sheamus

Analysis: 1/4* The idea behind it is that this was punishment for being nice to Foley and they won the match in one minute. What a punishment.

Post match, Enzo & Cass beat up Anderson & Gallows. Crowd cheered.

Analysis: Basic stuff to put over Enzo & Cass after they lost a ridiculously short handicap match.

The New Day trio of Xavier Woods, Big E & Kofi Kingston were shown backstage. Big E asked if there was anything he wanted to talk about. Woods: “WrestleMania.” They talked about all the matches at WrestleMania. They went over the lineup of matches. Not much more to it than that.

Analysis: The opening question from Big E was a reference to the hacking video involving Paige that “co-starred” Xavier Woods and Brad Maddox. I’m sure if you’re reading this you know about it and if not look it up, but be warned it’s NSFW type content. Anyway, I hate that it happened because it's an invasion of privacy. I hope it goes away soon, but who knows if the crowd will forget it whenever Paige returns to TV from her neck injury.

Austin Aries made his entrance.

(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: Last Friday, I wrote an exclusive column for The Comeback about The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. I presented four different booking scenarios for their match. Two of them involve heel turns for Reigns and the other two would keep him in a face role. I think the heel turn is what should happen, but I don't know if Vince McMahon agrees. Check out the article and let me know what you think.

At WrestleMania it’s Neville defending the Cruiserweight Championship against Aries.

Austin Aries vs. Tony Nese

Nese was in control early on with a leg drop. Aries came back with a back body drop with a suicide dive that sent Nese into the barricade as the show went to break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Nese had Aries on his shoulders in a Torture Rack position. Running forearm attack by Nese. Aries came back with a neckbreaker across the middle rope. Clotheslines by Aries, chop to the chest, Facebuster, STO and a spinning elbow smash. Aries with a Rolling Senton. Aries up top with a missile dropkick. Aries hit Nese with a forearm shot in the corner. Aries hit a spinning forearm that Graves called the Discus Fivearm because it’s better than a forearm.  Aries covered to win after seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Austin Aries

Analysis: ** It was a decent match that was longer than most cruiserweight matches although with the commercial it was really about four minutes of action. Aries is a great performer that has a lot of cool looking moves and a hard hitting finisher. It sounds great. Looks painful too.

Neville showed up with the Cruiserweight Championship on his shoulder. He stood on the ramp. Neville didn’t say much as he claimed he’ll beat him at WrestleMania. Aries said that was the worst interview segment he’s done on Raw. Aries pointed out that we hear Aries, but what he sees is a man who knows he has to step into this ring with another man that is not at his level, but is above his level. Aries told Neville to tell people he is the “king of the cruiserweights” because after WrestleMania this whole façade will be over.

Analysis: I’m looking forward to their WrestleMania match. I hope it gets 15 minutes because it will be great if they do. I’m not sure if the crowd will care enough, but I hope they do because they are both awesome performers.

Another video about Lesnar and Goldberg up next.

A brief video aired about Emma “coming soon” to Raw.

(Commercial)

A video aired about Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle as a great WrestleMania match sponsored by Snickers. I wrote about that match earlier on Monday, which you can read about here. Thank you WWE for the timely video so I can shill my article.

There was a video package about Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg again. It highlighted Royal Rumble when Goldberg eliminated Lesnar. When Lesnar and Heyman were asked to comment, they said nothing. There was a highlight of Goldberg winning the Universal Title at Fastlane. A clip aired of Lesnar hitting Goldberg with a F5 on Raw a few weeks ago. That’s how it ended.

Analysis: The video was fine, but nothing special or out of the ordinary. They filled a few minutes of airtime with one in-ring segment between Lesnar and Goldberg in the last month.

It was promoted that Lesnar and Goldberg will be on Raw next week.

Analysis: Way to actually book main event talent. What a shocking twist.

Braun Strowman was backstage. Charly Caruso showed up for an interview. Strowman said if Undertaker wants to face Reigns at WrestleMania then he’ll need a shovel to get Reigns after Strowman is done with him.

Roman Reigns entered to boos.

(Commercial)

I was told by a reader on Twitter that Undertaker was escorted under the ring during the commercial. I hope he has good WIFI down there.

Next week on Raw, Rollins has the “Hold Harmless Contract Signing” segment for a WrestleMania match against Triple H.

As Reigns was in the ring they plugged Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania.

Braun Strowman made his entrance. The match began at 11:01pmET.

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman

Reigns attacked with punches early on. Fans did the “Let’s go Roman/Roman Sucks” chant. Reigns nailed a boot to the face that sent Strowman out of the ring. When Reigns went for the dropkick out of the ring, Strowman hit a clothesline. Spinebuster by Strowman earned a two count. Strowman whipped Reigns into the turnbuckle with Reigns taking the bump sternum first. Strowman did a headlock as the “Let’s go Roman/Roman Sucks” chant started again. Reigns fought back with punches. Reigns went for a Samoan Drop, Reigns couldn’t get him up and Strowman hit a clothesline. Strowman missed a corner charge as Reigns moved. Comeback by Reigns with ten clotheslines in the corner, punch to the throat and a delayed Samoan Drop for a two count. Reigns continued the attack with the Drive By dropkick on the apron. Strowman sent Reigns shoulder first into the steps at ringside. Strowman tossed the top half of the steel steps into the ring and sent Reigns back into the ring. As Strowman picked up the steps, Reigns nailed him with a Superman Punch although it didn’t look that good. Strowman blocked another attempt, Reigns fought out, boot to the face by Reigns and a Superman Punch connected for Reigns. As Reigns did his loud yell, the Undertaker’s “gong” hit. Lights out. With the lights back on, Undertaker stood in the ring and stared at Reigns. Undertaker turned around to stare at Strowman. Undertaker stared back at Reigns as fans chanted “Undertaker.” Undertaker hit Strowman with a Chokeslam. When Undertaker turned around, Reigns hit him with a Spear. Crowd boos. The match went about ten minutes.

Match Result: Disqualification? 

Analysis: *1/2 It’s hard to rate the match because it didn’t feel that important when The Undertaker showed up. Some good counters by Strowman in the match. Reigns seemed off a bit with some of his moves, but maybe that’s just selling. By doing that finish, it protected Strowman by not giving him another loss. I thought they might have went with Undertaker distracting Reigns to give Strowman a win. However, that would probably hurt Reigns and we all know it’s always about making Reigns look strong. I don't think Strowman looks good by getting beat up by Undertaker so easily, but that's what happens when Strowman is out of the picture. It's about the other two guys.

Reigns walked up the ramp as his music played. As Reigns made it to the top of the ramp, Undertaker sat up in the ring. Undertaker did his throat slash, his music played, they had a staring contest and that’s the end of Raw at 11:13pmET.

Analysis: It was Reigns getting revenge on Undertaker after Undertaker hit him with a Chokeslam. Typical booking to give a guy momentum one week and give the advantage to the other guy the next week. We have seen that many times over the years.

After the show, I got a bunch of tweets from people saying Undertaker looked like he was in pain after the Chokeslam. I don't think it was that. I think it was more of an "oh shit" reaction in character as he realized Reigns was waiting for him.

Also, I received word from people at the event that Lesnar showed up post Raw and hit Big Show with a F5 to end the night.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Mick Foley – Giving it to him since he did a good job as GM and now that he’s out of that role, I’ll miss him since he’s one of my favorite wrestlers ever.

2. Chris Jericho – I liked the promo a lot.

3. (tie) Samoa Joe

3. (tie) Sami Zayn

 

The Scoreboard

4.5 out of 10

Last week: 5

2017 Average: 5.33

Average since brand split starting July 25/16: 5.7 (Smackdown is 6.62)

Last 5 Weeks: 5, 7, 4, 5.5, 5

2017 High: 7 (Feb. 6 & March 6)

2017 Low: 4 (Jan. 9 & Feb. 27)

 

Final Thoughts

I give it a 4.5 out of 10.

I don’t want to be negative. I really don’t. It’s just hard for me to sit here and say that Raw was some great or exciting show when it’s very average week after week.

The hardest thing about watching Raw is wondering what WWE’s creative team thinks when it comes to the face wrestlers. Bayley doesn’t get much of a reaction anymore and the crowd wasn’t paying attention to her. It’s because the booking is so bad with the way she talks. Losing consecutive non-title matches doesn’t help her either. Sami Zayn is booked like the biggest loser on the show even though he gets solid crowd reactions. At some point he’ll get no reaction because of how awful he is portrayed.

That tag team handicap match was a total waste of time. Charlotte vs. Dana was awful because nobody cares about Dana.

This show felt like it set the all-time record with the amount of video packages and replays of things that aired last week. There’s just so much filler that if I wasn’t watching live I could fast forward through most of it.

As for the main event, it was fine as a basic angle around WrestleMania. Undertaker doesn’t have to do much and people go crazy for him. It’s easy. Same thing we get every year.

Here’s what we know for WrestleMania 33 on April 2 in Orlando.

Universal Championship: Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar

WWE Championship: Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton

The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns

United States Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens

Triple H vs. Seth Rollins – Rollins has to sign the contract on Raw next week.

AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon – Not official, but it will be.

John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse

Raw Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Nia Jax

Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin – Not official, but it should be this week.

Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss to defend against all Smackdown women who are available to compete.

Cruiserweight Championship: Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries

Raw Tag Team Championship: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo & Big Cass vs. Sheamus & Cesaro

Andre the Giant Battle Royal – Participants announced so far are Big Show, Mojo Rawley, Apollo Crews and Curt Hawkins.

A Smackdown Tag Team Title match could be added as well.

---

That's all for now. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.

Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Raptors. Go Toronto Maple Leafs.

John Canton – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

 


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