February 20th, 2017 | Staples Center in Los Angeles, California
The show opened with a graphic remembering George “The Animal” Steele. Nothing for Ivan Koloff.
Next, a video recap was shown of the “Festival of Friendship.” Kevin Owens opened the show sitting in the ring with a spotlight on himself. He said the spotlight is finally solely on him. Owens chose to talk about Goldberg instead of Chris Jericho. He didn’t care for Goldberg’s dominant WCW run and he doesn’t care that people think he won’t win. Owens said he just has to outlast Goldberg because the longer a Goldberg match does, the more the scale tips in his opponent’s favor. He brought up Goldberg wanting to show his son that superheroes still exist but Owens doesn’t want his title to be used as a prop. He is gonna prove that superheroes don’t exist. The fans can chant Goldberg all they want and he can bark “YOU’RE NEXT” but Owens said “YOU’RE NOTHING”. He gave no info about Jericho. This was great. Owens’ delivery was spot on and the visual of the spotlight and him in the suit were both great. Though it feels like it’s all leading to Goldberg winning in seconds.
Number One Contender’s Match: Enzo Amore and Big Cass def. Cesaro and Sheamus in 9:20
Cesaro and Sheamus started hot, kicking Enzo’s ass. Cesaro stole the show by mocking Enzo’s dance outside and when a fan said, “HOW YOU DOING?”, Cesaro picked up Enzo and said “He’s not doing too well.” After a commercial, Enzo took more of the heat. Cesaro cut off a diving hot tag attempt with a sick uppercut. This match is worth checking out just for that. Cass got the hot tag shortly after and went toe to toe with both opponents. Cass surprisingly pinned Cesaro following East River Crossing. We missed a good chunk due to commercial but what we got was fun. **¼
Enzo annoyed the losers with a promo about having “that kryptonite” so Sheamus shut him up with a fantastic Brogue Kick.
Kevin Owens went to exit the building but Mick Foley told him he couldn’t because he has a match with Sami Zayn. I hate how Raw just throws this match out every once in a while and makes it meaningless. They should have been kept apart for a long time after Battleground.
A Braun Strowman vignette aired.
A video package aired about Bayley’s Women’s Title win last year.
Mick Foley was on the phone backstage when Roman Reigns came up to him. Foley told him to wait for Fastlane to get his hands on Strowman. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows interrupted and I guess they’re rematching that.
We were supposed to get The Brian Kendrick vs. Akira Tozawa. Tozawa had seconds thoughts about the pre-match handshake so Kendrick attacked. The bell never rang as Kendrick continued the assault. He exposed the steel part of the turnbuckle and ran Tozawa’s head into it before slapping on the Captain’s Hook.
WWE Tag Team Champions Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows def. Roman Reigns via disqualification in 3:58
Anderson and Gallows jumped Roman and held serve in the early stages. Even when Roman started a comeback, they beat him up outside. They tried bringing a chair in but Reigns fought them off and got it himself. He used the chair on Anderson, resulting in the DQ. Roman spent the next few minutes beating up the Club because the champions are scrubs compared to the BIG DOG. DUD
The New Day w/ Xavier Woods def. Jinder Mahal and Rusev w/ Lana in 3:34
New Day was announced as the hosts of WrestleMania earlier today. They argued with Rusev and Lana over stolen blueprints for ice cream. I’m not making this up. After the promo, they go to commercial and we joined this in progress. Rusev worked a bear hug on Kofi, who took the heat. Big E got the tag, gyrated and hit a big splash. After a spot outside, Woods scared Lana with the trombone and stole back the plans. Her acting on it was poor. New Day won with Midnight Hour. Nothing match but the pre-match antics were fun. *
They ran a tribute video for George Steele.
Austin Aries oversaw the official contract signing for the Jack Gallagher/Neville Cruiserweight Title match at Fastlane. Neville came out in ring gear, which I hate. He signed and went to leave instantly but Gallagher brought him back, wanting to have a chat. He had tea and biscuits after all. Neville played anti-American foreigner, saying Gallagher is a stereotype of what Americans see British people as. He said the fans laugh at Jack, not with him. Jack disagreed, saying he isn’t playing a role, that’s who he is. He said Neville thinks he’s a king and that he’s better than everyone. Neville flipped the table and shoved Jack, who took him down. Neville tried getting back in the ring but Jack stopped him with his umbrella. Good segment that managed to keep the crowd invested, which the cruiserweights struggle with.
Nia Jax def. Sarah Pierce in 0:34
Nia just ran over Sarah and threw her around the ring. A Samoan drop ended things quickly. Total squash. NR
Charly interviewed her about the “controversy” surrounding Bayley’s win last week. She said the only controversy is the fact that she hasn’t had a title shot yet. She dared Sasha and Bayley to pull last week’s antics on her.
New WWE Raw Women’s Champion Bayley came out to address Charlotte’s tweet which suggested she relinquish the title due to the events of last week. Bayley spoke about realizing her dream. She mentioned Charlotte’s tweet and said she was just trying to ruin the best week of her life. Instead of a horrible Charlotte promo, we got Stephanie McMahon. She played the “did you dream include a tainted win” route. Bayley took the title off, ready to hand it over to Steph. Sasha Banks interrupted and Stephanie shut it down quickly, saying Sasha thinks Bayley can’t do anything. Sasha considers Bayley a sister and won’t let her give up the title. Steph said Sasha only wants Bayley as champ because she knows she can beat her. Bayley admitted Stephanie was right, saying the title was important. She made it seem like she would give it up but said hell no, which Stephanie couldn’t believe. This brought out Charlotte, to make this segment even worse. She shouted a ton at the wrong times and said she would face Bayley at the PPV in a rematch. Sasha told her to shut up and challenged her tonight. Everything about this segment sucked to me. It wasn’t one of Bayley’s strongest promos, Stephanie didn’t add much, the story they’re telling isn’t what they should go with for Bayley’s first title win, Charlotte is always horrible on the stick, Sasha is still miscast as a babyface and it led to a match we’ve seen a million times.
Sasha Banks def. Charlotte in 9:59
This was joined in progress. Bayley was on commentary. Charlotte went after the knee for a bit before they went into their typical spots. Charlotte took over after Sasha missed knees in the corner and they worked through a commercial break. Returning, Charlotte applied a painful looking dragon sleeper. Sasha got free and got two on a rollup. Charlotte again avoided the corner knees but ate meteora off the apron. Dana Brooke slowly ran out because the WWE remembers her friendship with Charlotte when it’s convenient. Bayley stopped her, leading to a Bank Statement on Charlotte, who tapped. Strange booking. Charlotte loses two straight weeks on Raw with a PPV title match coming up. It’s all just gonna lead to Charlotte winning at Fastlane anyway so none of it matters. **
DDP joins Kurt Angle, the Rock n’ Roll Express and Teddy Long in the 2017 Hall of Fame class.
Charly interviewed Sami Zayn. She asked if he wanted to tell Chris Jericho “I told you so.” He stated he wasn’t happy to be right about it and compared Owens to Samoa Joe for being selfish. He promised that things with Joe are fare from over.
Non-Title Match: WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens def. Sami Zayn in 1:11
During Sami Zayn’s entrance, Samoa Joe attacked him from behind. He shouted at Sami for talking trash backstage and threw him into the ring post. Owens gladly watched from the ring. Joe left and Sami demanded they start the match. Owens murdered him with clotheslines and the corner cannonball. He beat him up a bit more before hitting the Popup Powerbomb. Nothing to rate but it worked as an angle. NR
Backstage, Foley and Stephanie argued about Samoa Joe’s actions and Triple H’s decision to sign him. Steph threatened he could have an “accident.”
Michael Cole left backstage to hold a live interview with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman about the horrible sounding match with Goldberg at WrestleMania. Brock scared off Cole and sat in front of the camera while Heyman cut a promo. He basically said that all this talk about Goldberg and Kevin Owens doesn’t really matter. This was strange though Heyman did a good job in putting Owens over as credible at points.
Next week, Goldberg will be in attendance and we’ll hear from Seth Rollins.
Braun Strowman def. Big Show in 12:07
Vince McMahon must be salivating in the back. They showed the ring crew “re-enforcing” the ring. Strowman did a goddamn kip up out of a wrist lock and these two literally worked the mat. They struggled for an advantage on a suplex that Show own out on. Show fired up with shoulder blocks and hit the chokeslam for two. Strowman tried a powerslam but Show flipped free and they went up top. The crowd felt the ring break superplex spot was coming but Braun fought off. He jumped off the middle rope into the KO punch but still kicked out. Braun avoided a Vader bomb and hit a horrible looking powerslam for two. He hit a better one to win right after. This was better than expected, but still didn’t need to go as long as it did. Braun survived everything Show threw at him and was simply better. Kudos to Show for his performance in getting a new monster over. ***
As soon as Braun won, Roman Reigns’ theme played. He beat up Strowman until his Spear was stopped with a dropkick. Braun hit a powerslam and left Roman out cold.
Overall: 5/10. I thought this was a middling episode. There were some good things and some bad. I enjoyed the main event and liked nearly everything they did with Kevin Owens. Most of the matches failed to deliver but angles were advanced well. The contract signing was strong, while the women’s promo was bad. I didn’t like them booking Owens/Sami and Charlotte/Sasha rematches but at least the former wasn’t a real match. I also didn’t care for the Reigns/Club stuff, but I found the opening tag pretty good. Good and bad.