March 6, 2017
From the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL
Your hosts are Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and Michael Cole
We get a slo-mo replay of Chris Jericho distracting Kevin Owens last night, allowing Goldberg to win the Universal Championship to set up Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar as a title match at WrestleMania.
Chris Jericho comes out to open the show. He does not have his list but is sporting a smirk as the crowd is going nuts. He tells the crowd tonight is his resurrection as he tells us Kevin Owens had it coming to him after getting betrayed at the festival of friendship. Jericho then says he wants to know why Owens betrayed him and for Owens to come down and answer him face-to-face. Owens’ music hits as he slowly makes his way on the ramp. The crowd boos Owens, who is disgusted Jericho would ask that question after last night but Jericho cuts him off and wants to know why Owens stabbed him in the back as he spent three weeks hurt. Owens then gives him the answer and that he never stabbed his best friend in the back because Jericho was never his best friend. Owens said at one time Sami Zayn was his best friend and he stabbed him in the back and would do it again. Owens calls Jericho a “tool” and that he used him while telling us that Triple H told him the night he won the title that everyone was gunning for him and needed someone to watch his back. Owens said Jericho had been there before and was gullible but outlived his usefulness when he agreed to his match against Goldberg and that was when Jericho went from a “tool to a burden.” Owens then gives Jericho credit for outsmarting him last night then said he spared him at the “Festival of Friendship” where he let him walk away and that its the biggest mistake of his life. Owens then said Jericho’s biggest mistake was costing him the Universal Title but Jericho cut him off and said its not. Jericho says there was a time when he would have done what Owens did but he liked the idea of having a best friend. Jericho then talks about how Owens was not his best friend either and that he has thousands of friends in the crowd tonight and calls them the “Friends of Jericho” as the fans are firmly behind Jericho here. Jericho then challenges Owens at WrestleMania as Owens says he will get the Universal Title again when the time is right and has been promised a rematch when he wants it but now wants to take Jericho’s United States Title away from him and wants that on the line as Jericho immediately agrees. Jericho then asks Owens what is stopping him from doing something tonight as Owens smirks then says “nothing” as he runs down and brawls with Jericho. Samoa Joe comes out and beats on Jericho but Sami Zayn soon runs out with a chair to make the save. Zayn soon gets outnumbered but Jericho gets up and cleans the ring with a chair.
Good segment and a fantastic way to start off the show. Jericho was insanely over tonight and I liked how he came out to ask why Owens turned on him. Owens answer was great in the sense that he is a heel that uses everyone for his advantage and it suits him better than the buddy comedy role he was in for a majority of his title reign. We also have another match for WrestleMania now and it should give the U.S. Title some needed prestige. The brawl did not look the greatest but it was effective and the crowd was hot during the whole thing.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
This was made during the break by GM Mick Foley as Samoa Joe and Chris Jericho have been barred from ringside but will face each other later tonight. Zayn fights back and hits mounted punches in the corner but Owens is able to break that up and dump Zayn outside. Owens heads out but gets clotheslined as Zayn rolls him back inside. Owens comes back with a corner clothesline then hits a cannonball but Zayn avoids a pop-up powerbomb by hitting a dropkick. Zayn flies out with a tope con hilo but heads back inside and gets hit with a Pop-Up Powerbomb. Owens gathers himself and roughs up Zayn then hits a second Pop-Up Powerbomb for the win (3:58) *1/2.
Thoughts: The story here was that Owens is absolutely irate and was basically using Zayn as his whipping boy here. The match itself did not really click and was more a collection of moves than anything else but the anger Owens showed here was really good stuff. Zayn did not look like anything special at all when this match ended as it does not appear he is in line for anything big at WrestleMania.
We get another Austin Aries video package.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Rich Swann vs. Neville (c)
Corey tells us this is Swann’s contractually obliged rematch as he was injured after losing the belt. We get a CM Punk chant before the bell. Swann runs wild to start. He heads outside and whips Neville into the guardrail then hits a few chops but Neville shoves Swann down and rams him into the ring apron as we head to break. Swann taking some rough bumps off of that too. The match returns with Neville working a chinlock in the ring. Neville then stomps Swann as we get a chant for Aries. Swann starts firing away from the apron then kicks Neville as he attempted to slingshot inside. Swann climbs up top and flies out with a somersault senton. Back inside, Swann gets a nearfall off of a Michinoku Driver variation then heads back up top but Neville cuts him off and climbs up for a superplex. Swann rolls to the floor so Neville follows out and rams him into the guardrail as we go to a second break. The match returns with Neville stomping Swann in the ring. Swann fights back and they slug it out. Swann lands on his feet after a German suplex and hits one of his own before nearly putting Neville away with a super kick. Swann head up top and leaps off to avoid being cut off and connects with a roundhouse kick. Swann heads up top but misses the Phoenix Splash then Neville puts on the Rings of Saturn for the win (13:33) ***1/2. After the match, Aries asks Neville how it feels to be on top of the mountain. The crowd chants for Aries, who thanks the crowd to quiet them, as Neville tells us he has done what he set out to accomplish and wants his doubters to look at him now. He talks about laying waste to all of the pretenders and there is no one on 205 Live that can hold a handle to him. Aries then asks Neville if he can think of any competition left as the crowd chants for Aries, who tells Neville the crowd disagrees with him. Neville tells Aries he must be delusional to think he is on his level and orders him back to the announcers desk to make cheap jokes as this is his ring. Aries slowly takes off his shades and says he is just trying to do his job as Neville asks him if he doesn’t like the truth, then what is he going to do about this. Aries says he is just trying to do his job and has one more question to ask but says its actually more like a statement as he decks Neville in the face then hits a discus elbow as Neville bails while Aries rips off his shirt and perches on the top rope.
Thoughts: Good match. Swann had a great showing here and they got the crowd into what they were doing. The post-match stuff with Aries was great and looked even better as the crowd was red-hot for Aries, a Midwestern guy. A Neville vs. Aries match should be excellent. I also thought Neville handled the “what” chants here like a pro. He really makes for an incredible heel.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass are backstage and talk about their Tag Team Title rematch tonight. They run into Cesaro & Sheamus as Enzo talks trash while Cesaro & Sheamus remind him of his loss last night. Cass gets pissed now as an overconfident Enzo talks about how they will pop champagne after winning tonight then he makes some jokes at Cesaro’s expense and leaves as Cesaro calls him annoying. There is still some bad blood brewing between these two teams.
Goldberg heads out to the ring wearing the Universal Championship Belt. He holds it up in the ring and gets some boos. He then says the title belongs to the fans just as much it does to himself as he gets a fair amount of boos. We then get some “CM Punk” chants then Paul Heyman interrupts. Heyman said he will not offer Goldberg a handshake for winning last night then said he did not come out here alone as Brock Lesnar comes out. Goldberg and Lesnar have a staredown in the ring then Heyman introduces them to each other. Heyman says he understands how happy Goldberg must be for winning then tells him his client is willing to shake his hand. However, at WrestleMania, only one of them will walk out of the ring as a winner and the other a loser, as Lesnar laughs and says that will be Goldberg. Heyman then says he does not make predictions but rather gives us spoilers and that spoiler is Brock Lesnar will become the Universal Champion. Heyman then says after the match, Goldberg will be known as “Brock’s Bitch” then Lesnar hits Goldberg with the F5. Lesnar & Heyman leave then after that an angry Goldberg gets up and grabs his belt.
I liked this segment. They also had Heyman come out at the right time as Chicago was really booing Goldberg loud. The segment was effective as Lesnar finally got one-up on Goldberg.
We get some clips of the Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman match last night at Fastlane as Cole tells us Strowman has promised to finish what he started with Reigns tonight.
WWE RAW Tag Team Championship Match: Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (c)
Enzo & Cass’ pre-match promo put over Micheal Jordan at the end and it got over as Corey said they just won the “biggest panderers on earth award.” Enzo avoids a clothesline and staggers Gallows with a pair of dropkicks. Css tags and beats on Gallows then does the same to Anderson. Enzo tags and sets up for a dive but Anderson & Gallows get out of the way then we see Cesaro & Sheamus head out to the ring right before the break. The match returns with Anderson beating on Enzo as the champs are cutting off the ring. Enzo comes back to hit Anderson with a DDT as both men are down. Enzo makes the tag as Cass runs wild on Anderson. Enzo takes Gallows out with a dive on the floor but decides to knock the coffee out of Cesaro’s hand so Cesaro chases him inside and knocks him down for the DQ (7:40) *1/2. After the match, all three teams brawl and it ends with Enzo jumping on Cesaro’s back as Cesaro puts him on his shoulder as Sheamus knocks Enzo off with a Brogue Kick. That kicked looked vicious.
Thoughts: The match wasnt much at all but it was really designed to set up for a three-way match between these teams, perhaps at WrestleMania. I thought they did a fantastic job here in getting heat between all three teams. I was also impressed with the chemistry between Cesaro & Sheamus. They are really starting to gel as an act.
We get a video package for the newest inductee of the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame Class, Rick Rude. Another job well done by the WWE, both with the video and the nomination.
Backstage, several officials and Mick Foley are separating Cesaro & Sheamus and Enzo & Cass. Foley screams to shut them up and says next week they will face each other in a #1 Contender’s match. Stephanie McMahon comes out and orders Foley to her office.
Akira Tozawa vs. Ariya Daivari
Daivari fires away after the bell but runs into a kick. Daivari comes back with a clothesline for a two count then works a reverse chinlock. Tozawa escapes and they trade chops as the crow starts to mimic Tozawa’s chant as he fakes out Daivari and decks him with an elbow. Tozawa is in control then flies out with a tope. Back inside, Tozawa floats over on a suplex and puts Daivari away with a snap German suplex (2:15) 3/4*. After the match, Tozawa calls out Kendrick to face him now in the ring. Kendrick comes out to say he will have an answer tomorrow night on “205 Live” and for Tozawa to be careful what he is wishing for as he might not like the result.
Thoughts: The action wasnt much at all as Daivari is just way too dull in the ring. I liked the end and how they set something up for 205 Live too. This feud has been fine and Tozawa’s chants are starting to get over a bit with the crowd.
Shining Stars vs. Big E & Kofi Kingst
The New Day come out with their New Day “Popcycle” The Shining Stars start off by beating on Kofi. The New Day fights back and end up putting Primo away with the Midnight Hour (1:18) NR.
Thoughts: A nothing match as the ice cream bit does not seem to be going anywhere and just a way to fill time and keep them on TV as they are the hosts of WrestleMania.
We get a video package on Lita and Trish Stratus to promote “Women’s History Month.”
Foley is in the ring. He welcomes out Bayley and congratulates her on last night’s successful title defense. Bayley said that she wishes she could celebrate but specifically wanted Dana left backstage to find out who is the best but Sasha Banks came out and interfered. Bayley talks about how much WrestleMania meant to her as Foley tells her it doesnt matter how she got there but that you get there and wants to know who will be her WrestleMania opponent. Sasha comes out and has an answer to the question. She tells Bayley just because Dana was told to stay backstage doesnt mean she was going to stay there and how instead of talking about tearing the house down at WrestleMania, lets get it done. The crowd cheers as Foley asks them for their opinion but Charlotte & Dana come out instead. Charlotte said Bayley knew Sasha was never going to get an opportunity due to her loss at Roadblock and calls her out for being selfish and trying to get a title shot as she knew Bayley would not beat her as Charlotte said she was robbed. Foley tells Charlotte she lost her contractually obliged rematch and that the Sasha/Bayley friendship is a farce but Stephanie comes out instead. A loud “CM Punk” chant breaks out as Stephanie said the crowd are losers just like him before saying Sasha is the most manipulative person in the locker room as the CM Punk chants get even louder. Foley suggests Charlotte vs. Sasha next week with the winner to face Bayley at WrestleMania. Stephanie then switches it up and says if Sasha wins her match, the title match at WrestleMania is a triple threat match and that tonight, she will have to beat Bayley for that to happen.
A convoluted mess of a segment. I hated the finish to last night’s title match as it made the champ look weak and justified the heel in saying Bayley was a cheater and this was a bunch of nonsense to build to a potential three-way match. And, where was Nia Jax tonight! Wasn’t she recently telling Bayley she’d beat her for the title? The booking of the RAW Women’s Division has been baffling to say the least.
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks
Charlotte & Dana have joined the announcers table. They slap hands to start before fighting over a lockup and keep going back-and-forth. Bayley works the arm for a bit but gets chopped hard across the chest. Sasha comes back with a headscissors as Bayley rolls outside. Bayley avoids an attack but runs into a clothesline back in the ring as we head to break. The match returns with a pinfall reversal sequence then Sasha blocks the Bayley-to-Belly and fires away. Charlotte & Dana head to ringside as Sasha is in control. Sasha lays Bayley across the middle rope but misses a knee drop. Sasha is able to dodge a crossbody and locks on the Banks Statement but Bayley reaches the ropes. Charlotte, I believes, tries to get Bayley to the ropes but Sasha kicks her and flips over to get Bayley back in the center of the ring and the champ taps out as Sasha will be at WrestleMania (13:00) *1/2. After the match, Charlotte lays out Sasha and Bayley.
Thoughts: The crowd was absolutely dead for this, which goes to show you how damaging the previous segment was to the match. In the ring, it was awkward and we got another poorly executed finish. The booking since last night has been incredibly damaging to this story.
Charly Caruso acts Roman Reigns about Strowman’s comments of destroying him tonight. Reigns tells Strowman to come find him in the middle of the ring.
We get a video package on Seth Rollins as he tells us he will be at WrestleMania. After that, we get Triple H live via satelitte as Cole asks him about Rollins’ promise to be at WrestleMania. Triple H puts over the world class treatment the WWE gives to their talent and he has to hope someone like Seth Rollins actually listens to them. He then tells us Rollins is a liar because he calls himself the “man” and if he does in fact show up to WrestleMania against doctor’s orders he will be facing a nightmare.
A video hyping the makeover from Emmalina to Emma. Oh boy.
Samoa Joe vs. Chris Jericho
Joe pounds on Jericho in the corner. Jericho fights back but is whipped into the corner where Joe hits an enziguiri. Jericho lands on the apron and hits a crossbody for two but Joe plants him down and hits a senton for a nearfall. Joe works a Fujiwara armbar on the mat. Jericho gets out and tries for the Walls of Jericho but that fails. Jericho comes back with an enziguiri then sends Joe outside with a dropkick. Jericho takes Joe off of the apron with a springboard dropkick but Joe dodges a baseball slide and puts Jericho in the Coquina Clutch on the outside. Joe breaks and rolls inside at the 9 count for the win (3:58) *3/4. After the match, Joe drags Jericho inside but gets hit with a Codebreaker.
Thoughts: I thought the action here was good. I didnt mind Joe winning via countout but having Jericho get his heat back with a Codebreaker didnt really do anything for me. I get wanting to keep both guys strong but why even book this if that’s the case? They could have had a tag match after the opening segment.
An irate Braun Strowman comes out to the ring and demands the microphone. He tells Reigns he got lucky last night and wants him to come, like a man, so he can rip him from limb to limb. Strowman tells Reigns that Chicago does not like him and neither does he as he wants a fight. However, we hear the gong and the crowd goes nuts as the Undertaker comes out. A loud “holy shit” chant breaks out as Undertaker and Strowman stare each other down. Strowman then leaves as the crowd chants for the Undertaker. Now, Reigns comes out to a chorus of boos. Reigns then tells Taker that Strowman did not call him out, he called out himself, and with all due respect this is his yard now. A loud “Roman Sucks” chant breaks out then Taker hits Reigns with a chokeslam then leaves as Cole yells “This is what WrestleMania season is all about!”
Another segment that was far too contrived for my liking. Why not have Undertaker address Reigns last night after his win? Plus, Reigns took a long time to come out and having Strowman back off of Taker and walk away through the crowd does not do him any favors either as the segment wrote him off of being involved in a top WrestleMania match. And Reigns came out after Undertaker got Strowman to leave by staring at him. The live crowd like this but they went crazier for the Taker/Strowman staredown than when Reigns came out too.
Final Thoughts:I thought the first two hours of this show were very good. It was focused and they built up to potential WrestleMania title matches. The Jericho/Owens segment was great and Aries attacking Neville was fantastic. The Cruiserweight Title match got a lot of time and also shined.
However, the women’s segment killed the crowd by the end and the Sasha/Bayley match bombed live. They really need to evaluate how they are utilizing the women because they are on pace to have every one of them booed by the crowd through terrible storytelling. And unless they are in fact turning Reigns heel then the end of the show did not make sense.
Overall, good show with some highly questionable decisions among the women. At least there is focus heading into WrestleMania, unlike last year.