March 13, 2017
From the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI
Your hosts are Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and JBL
The show starts with a video package from last week’s show to hype the Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg match at WrestleMania.
Paul Heyman & Brock Lesnar come out to start the live show. Heyman laughs over what Lesnar did to Goldberg last week then promises that Lesnar will win the Universal Title at WrestleMania. We get a mild Goldberg chant as Heynam pauses and tells us how Goldberg is not here tonight before saying they have a serious problem with Goldberg as the result has always been “spear, jackhammer, Goldberg.” However, the story changed last week as it was “F5, down” as Heyman calls the F5 the most devastating finishing move in WWE history. Heyman then promises Goldberg’s resurrection will be put down with an F5 at WrestleMania and as Goldberg goes down, Lesnar will go up.
Brief for an opening promo but it was really just more of the same from Heyman here. Really, what else can be said by him to hype up this match at this point?
Backstage, Mick Foley is with Stephanie McMahon. She says that Heyman is creepy before saying Foley takes things personally and wanted him as the GM of RAW because he connects with the fans. Stephanie then says tough love does not work with him so if he wants to learn she is willing to teach. Stephanie asks Foley if he is in and after he say yes, she wants him to look at the entire RAW roster and pick one person to fire. Foley is weary of doing this three weeks before WrestleMania as Stephanie says the product will improve by getting rid of someone who is under performing and has until the end of the night to fire someone.
Stephanie continues to test Foley and now wants him to fire someone. They tried to paint Foley as being sympathetic here but its tough to care about these authority segments anymore. Foley’s act as GM has run its course and the fans seem less connected with him each passing week.
Dana Brooke w/ Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks w/ Bayley
Dana beats on Sasha in the corner to start. She yanks her against the middle turnbuckle as we hear Charlotte bark out instructions. Sasha then fights back and gets a couple of nearfalls before escaping a fireman’s carry and using a reverse rollup for the win (1:18). After the match, a pissed off Charlotte gets into the ring and calls Dana a disgrace. She then says that Dana does not deserve to be by her side and is finally getting rid of her but Dana knocks her down and beats on her in the corner. The action spills outside then Charlotte gets away as Dana screams at her to get back in the ring.
Thoughts: The action wasn’t much but the story is that Dana finally turned on Charlotte. The Charlotte & Dana pairing has been a flop to begin with so I have no problem breaking off Dana. She got some cheers here but I do not know if Dana can maintain that as a babyface singles wrestler. Regarding the finish, I could not tell if Sasha was supposed to be grabbing the tights or not.
A video package on paralyzed former Rutgers football player and lifelong WWE fan Eric LeGrand, the recipient of the 2017 Warrior Award. Legrand is determined to walk again and the package was well produced.
TJ Perkins & Akira Tozawa vs. The Brian Kendrick & Tony Nese
The announcers mention that Austin Aries will be making his RAW debut tonight and will be facing the four men involved in this match in a Fatal Five Way tomorrow night on “205 Live” as the winner faces Neville at WrestleMania for the Cruiserweight Championship. Nese attacks a distracted Tozawa from behind to start. Kendric tags and pie-faces Tozawa a few times but ends up getting knocked outside where Tozawa flies out with a tope. Nese comes out as Perkins takes him down with a hurricarana from the apron as we head to break. The match returns with Kendrick using a chinlock to ground Tozawa as we see Neville watching from the locker room. Tozawa pulls up on a double backdrop and tries to make the tag but Kendrick yanks Perkins off of the apron as Nese takes Tozawa down from behind. Nese works a bodyscissors as Tozawa tries to get out and make the tag. Tozawa rolls through a sunset flip attempt and nails Kendrick with a enziguiri then floats over on a back suplex and makes the tag. Perkins runs wild on Nese for a bit and almost puts Nese away with a springboard DDT as Kendrick breaks up the pin. Tozawa runs in to knock Kendrick off of the apron then sets up for a dive but Nese knocks Perkins into his partner then rolls him up and grabs the tights for the win (8:50) **1/2.
Thoughts: The match itself was fine but the crowd did not seem to care. Nese got a needed win (since he will be in the fatal five way tomorrow) and they played up the Kendrick/Tozawa feud here well.
Charly Caruso is backstage with Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson. They do not care who wins tonight’s #1 Tag Team Title contender match as they beat both of them before, have won titles all over the world, and if that does not get them the spotlight they deserve then they will take it themselves.
Kevin Owens heads out to the ring before the break.
After the break, Owens is in the ring with the spotlight on him. He says one month ago today he took the spotlight back where it belongs as we see a video package of him attacking Chris Jericho during the “Festival of Friendship.” He then tells the fans how they are upset with him for pretending to be Jericho’s friend but that Jericho never considered him a friend and just wanted to get close to his Universal Title. Owens said he stabbed Jericho in the back before he could do the same and that he outsmarted him and that Jericho beat him at Fastlane, not Goldberg, and will take the United States Championship away. Owens says after WrestleMania the only thing Jericho will have left is tears and that both Jericho & Zayn will learn a lesson tonight as who needs best friends when you have a destroyer as Samoa Joe heads to the ring.
Kevin Owens & Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn & Chris Jericho
The crowd is really hot for Jericho here. Joe tags right in to face Jericho but gets hit with a dropkick. Joe boots Jericho down and hits a senton as that gets two. Joe fires away in the corner but runs into a boot as Jericho takes him down with a missile dropkick. Zayn tags and lands a few punches before Joe chops him hard. Joe beats on Zayn, who comes back with a headscissor takedown then fires away. Joe whips Zayn into the corner and takes him down with an enziguiri then Owens tags and stomps a mudhole in Zayn. Owens cheap shots Jericho but Zayn takes him out then hits both men on the outside with a tope con hilo. Zayn sells his knee and starts limping as Owens takes him out with a chop block. Both men keep stomping Zayn in the ring and refuse to stop so the ref rings the bell for the DQ (3:40) **. After the match, Joe puts Zayn in the Coquina Clutch then Jericho runs in and attacks Owens. Joe breaks up a Walls of Jericho attempt then holds up Jericho for Owens, who hammers away and hits a Pop-Up Powerbomb as a few officials tried to break that up. Owens looks possessed as he leaves the ring with Joe.
Thoughts: The action was fine for the short amount of time they had but I liked the outcome and how they got over the Owens & Joe pairing. They’ve done a great job building up Joe as a monster and the Owens/Jericho feud is going strong. I’d love to see a longer match between these four though. I think it can be really good if given time.
Stephanie tells Foley backstage she can help him out in firing someone then suggests Sami Zayn, because he is an underperformer. Nia Jax interrupts pissed off that Sasha got into the WrestleMania RAW Women’s Championship match and not herself. Stephanie tells Nia she is right and that tonight, she will face Bayley. Foley then leaves as he wants to take a walk as Stephanie asks if he wants some company.
Backstage, Jinder Mahal sees Foley and says that he cannot be fired as he is a main-event talent. Foley then puts him in a match against Roman Reigns.
The New Day are backstage hosting their own show, New Day Talks, and welcome guest Big Show. They are plugging the WWE Jetsons DVD as Xavier tells Big Show he can be the first person to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal twice then the rest of the New Day asks him about the Jetsons. However, Titus O’Neill interrupts with his whistle and is upset about someone’s job being on the line. He then asks Big Show why the “Titus Brand” is not the start of the Jetsons movie. The New Day are then shown eating popcorn as Big Show looks pissed. The talk show really got old fast but the big news here is that Show being in the battle royal means his rumored match against Shaquille O’Neal appears off.
Tag Team Championship #1 Contender Match: Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
Enzo & Cass’ pre-match routine involved a “Cuppa Haters” coffee mug for Cesaro while Cass lists off the #1 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament seeds as they consider themselves a Cinderella story who will become the Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania. Cesaro attacks Cass to start. Cass catches Cesaro with a side slam for two but Sheamus tags in and takes Cass down then they fight in the corner. Cass catches Sheamus with a slam then Enzo tags and gets tossed on top of Sheamus but Cesaro breaks up the pin as all four men argue before the break. We return as Cesaro gets a nearfall on Enzo as we see the champs watching on a monitor backstage. Cass breaks up a pin attempt by Sheamus as Enzo is now trapped in the opposing corner. Enzo finally escapes and makes the tag as Cass beats on Cesaro. Sheamus makes a blind tag and takes Cass down but eventually gets booted off of the apron. Cass heads out then we see Gallows & Anderson out there as they attack both men for the DQ (8:00) *1/2. Anderson & Gallows beat down everyone and hit Cesaro with the Magic Killer.
Thoughts: The match wasnt that good and this seems to setting up for a triple threat match at WrestleMania with the Tag Team Titles on the line.
We see the events from last week that led to Undertaker chokeslamming Roman Reigns. Cole then lets us know that Roman Reigns vs. Undertaker is now official for WrestleMania as the camera shows Reigns heading towards the ring.
Foley yells at Gallows & Anderson backstage and says they now have themselves a triple threat tag match at WrestleMania.
Jinder Mahal vs. Roman Reigns
Reigns takes Mahal down with a back suplex for two then hammers away in the corner. The gong goes off as Reigns looks around but no one comes out. Reigns stares at the stage but walks into a high knee. Mahal gets a nearfall then hammers away as we get some dueling chants from the crowd. Reigns fights back then circles around Mahal before hitting the Superman Punch for the win (2:54) 3/4*.
Thoughts: Brief match to give Reigns a quick win and to let us know he is pissed off.
After the match, Reigns calls out the Undertaker to come out like a man as he says he is not messing around tonight then we go to commercial. We return then Shawn Michaels comes out and gets a great reaction from the crowd. Reigns says that Detroit loves HBK but he called out the Undertaker. HBK tells Reigns about the Undertaker and that he is distracted and unfocused and the Undertaker will eat him up as a result. Reigns tells us that is not happening and the Undertaker should think about what its like to be in the ring with himself. HBK says Reigns is the “Big Dog” but that he is Mr. WrestleMania and knows what its like to walk around with a chip on your shoulder while others secretly hope you fail. Reigns appreciates itself but then tells HBK with all due respect the Undertaker retired him and he is the guy that will retire the Undertaker before leaving. However, Strowman attacks Reigns on the ramp and knocks him into the guardrail then stares down HBK as a few officials check on Reigns.
I thought the segment was fine. Reigns displayed some heelish behaviors and it makes sense for him to be the heel heading into this match. It also makes sense for him to remain a heel but that is a different story altogether.
Back to Stephanie and Foley as Stephanie gloats over what Strowman just did as she asks Foley who he will be firing tonight. And, if he does not make the decision she will make it for him and he might not like what happens.
Video package on Austin Aries to hype his return to the ring.
Ariya Daivari vs. Austin Aries
This is Aries RAW in-ring debut. Aries hits a pair of arm drags to start. He follows with a dropkick as we see Neville again watching backstage. Daivari backdrops Aries outside then hammers away. Aries comes back with a bell clap then runs wild as he plays to the crowd before tossing Daivari outside. Aries takes Daivari out with a tope then drops Daivari on his head with a back suplex before getting the win with a rolling elbow (3:46) *1/2.
Thoughts: Brief match to put Aries over heading into tomorrow night’s #1 Contender match on “205 Live.”
More hype for Goldberg vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania.
Emma is coming soon to RAW.
Big Show vs. Titus O’Neill
Show backs Titus in the corner and beats him down. Titus tries to fight back and eventually knocks Show down but Show gets right up and hits a chokeslam. He then hits another one and the crowd chants for a third attempt as he hits that for the win (1:50).
Thoughts: Brief and designed to put Show over as the favorite of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania.
We get a video package on Billie Jean King for Women’s History Month.
Bayley and Sasha are backstage. Sasha wants to know why Bayley is worried about Nia then brings up the “haters” who think she is not worthy of the Women’s Championship and to focus on stealing the show at WrestleMania. The acting here was bad but it appears they are slowly turning Sasha heel as she is playing some mind games with Bayley.
We get a replay of the Owens & Joe vs. Jericho & Zayn match from earlier tonight. Mike Rome then asks Jericho how he plans on responding to Owens. Jericho promises to get revenge on Owens at WrestleMania but until then he will show us the “real” Kevin Owens next week on the “Highlight Reel.” Jericho ends by calling Rome “Tom Phillips” then puts him on the List of Jericho for not knowing his name.
Bayley vs. Nia Jax
Bayley tries to elude Nia but keeps getting tossed into the corner. Nia then bounces Bayley outside and heads out to rough her up a bit. Bayley lands a few kicks then Nia gets pissed and tips over the steel steps as we head to break. The match returns with Nia stretching out Bayley. Nia gets trapped in the ropes as Bayley targets the legs. Bayley fights back in the corner but gets caught coming off the top rope. Bayley slips out of a Samoan Drop attempt but gets tossed after that as Nia is back in control. Nia keeps hammering away in the corner and refuses to stop so the ref rings the bell for the DQ (7:50) *1/4. After the match, Nia sends Bayley into the barricade.
Thoughts: Not a good match at all and the crowd was dead. Through awful booking, the WWE has managed to turn Bayley into anything but a compelling character. She needed Sasha to bail her out at Fastlane, lost to Sasha last week, and had the ref bail her out tonight from getting further destroyed. And her pandering promos are not helping matters much. Nia seems like she will be added to the RAW Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania.
Next week, Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns
Stephanie brings out Foley so he can fire someone. She wants to know who it is as Foley said a name just popped up for him that would make RAW a better place if they left. Stephanie is proud and wants to know who it is but his answer is in fact, Stephanie McMahon. The crowd does a “yes” chant as Stephanie doesnt want a joke but wants someone fired as Foley yells at her that the talent are human beings and not jokes and recalls his tenure and that she lied to him numerous times. Foley says he will not be silenced but out comes Triple H as he is shaking his head. Triple H tells Foley he is not hiding but running a business and does not want a lawsuit before WrestleMania if he rips off his leg and beats him senseless as Foley asks if he will make Samoa Joe do that instead. Triple H mocks Foley and says he is creating the future to not look at has-beens. He wants Foley not to mistake Steph’s heart for a lack of being able to do what it takes and every bit the business person Vince taught her to be and then some. Foley says the RAW Superstars respect him and that he does not need the company but likes it here as he enjoys being on RAW. Triple H makes fun of Foley’s look some more then asks how his kids feel about him quitting and how he’ll ruin their lives so he better tuck his tail beneath his legs and leave. Triple H then yells in Foley’s face and says he better jump whenever his wife tells him to as Steph says let this be a lesson to all of us as Foley does not leave and stands in the corner as he uses Mr. Socko on Triple H. Steph breaks it up with a low blow then before Triple H can get revenge, Seth Rollins comes out with his crutch. Rollins stares down Triple H from ringside then smiles and drops his crutch and removes his sweatshirt before running inside. Rollins fires away and points at the WrestleMania sign before sending Triple H outside with a dropkick. Rollins then yells at Triple H to get back inside as the fans are behind Rollins but he grabs the crutch and runs in then eventually cuts Rollins off by attacking the knee. Triple H unbuttons his shirt to show us his physique then puts Rollins in an Indian Death Lock as Rollins is screaming in agony. Several officials run down to get Triple H off of Rollins then the show ends after Triple H whacks Rollins again.
Good segment to close the show. The show-long firing angle itself was not very interesting but the payoff of having Rollins return without the aid of a crutch was good news and next week I presume Rollins vs. Triple H will become official. I will say that Foley was very much over with this crowd.
Final Thoughts: This was not a bad show but at the same time it was not terribly exciting, either. They set up a lot for next week though and did officially announce Reigns vs. Undertaker as well as a Triple Threat match for the Tag Team Titles. With this week being a placeholder show for the most part, I expect a lot of newsworthy items to happen next week, which will be less than two weeks before WrestleMania.