(Almost) Live Reactions to WWE RAW

I’m liking what I’m feeling. I like it a lot, reader, and you know why? You know what I’m sensing? This is real, reader. This is a real feeling that you’re feeling. Because I can feel it! I’m the reason you’re feeling the way you’re feeling right now, reader.

I’m really glad I got that off my chest, guys. We’re 13 days away from WrestleMania 33, BAY-BAY! How would this penultimate edition of RAW go? Read on to find out.

Opening Segment

On his last night as GM, Mick Foley was the first man out tonight. He entered the ring and had a note written for himself. It soon became apparent that it wasn’t his own words he was reading, however, as he thanked the very people who were responsible for firing him. He said that he would be stepping down as RAW’s GM to big jeers from the crowd. Once he was through, he tore up the cards and shouted at his various enemies backstage. As he tried to do so, his microphone repeatedly cut out, and he was unable to speak his mind. Stephanie McMahon walked out and berated Foley for his actions last week (Let’s be fair, he did literally physically assault his boss, which is generally uncool). McMahon claimed that all Foley cared about was the fans. Because why would caring about the people who keep you in business be a good thing, right? Stephanie channeled her father and screamed “You’re Fired!” at Foley, and demanded he leave. As the former GM began to do so, Sami Zayn came out and sided with Foley. He claimed that Stephanie was wrong about lots of things, including how she was treating the legend. Foley pleaded with Zayn to think of his career and let this go. Zayn refused, though, and talked up how well Foley had been as GM during the previous nine months. McMahon didn’t much care what Zayn had to say and encouraged him to take this all back. Zayn thought about leaving but decided against it. Zayn said he wouldn’t be going anywhere, and then Samoa Joe entered to forcibly remove Zayn from the ring. McMahon made the match between the two competitors and once again told Foley to leave.

Mick Foley has really come into his own in the last few months, and I’ve really enjoyed his time as GM. And the way he’s been written off for his upcoming shoot surgery has been brilliant. I especially liked that Zayn was the one to come to his defense here, as they’ve had some tension in the past. However, Zayn put that aside out of respect for the legend. Good opener. Who do you want to see as the new GM? I know we’ve all heard the rumors that it’s going to be my personal favorite all time wrestler Kurt Angle, but do you think he’s the best person for the job? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Samoa Joe vs Sami Zayn

Joe ate a plancha on the outside to start things off but quickly established control with his strikes. Zayn won back some momentum with a head-scissors and a 10 punch spot, but his comeback didn’t last long and Joe was right back on top of things soon. Zayn hit a dropkick and some forearm shots but ran right into a power slam which had Zayn down for two. Joe launched Zayn into the corner. Zayn tried to fire off some chops but ran into some big strikes. Joe set up for a Muscle Buster by placing Zayn on the top rope, but Zayn avoided. What he didn’t avoid was a kick that sent him from the top rope to the arena floor. Joe ran and flew through the ropes, crashing into Zayn. Back inside, Joe had a surfboard stretch on Zayn. Zayn managed to fight out but got a CCS enzugiri for his troubles. Joe ran Zayn into the ring post outside and dropkicked him in the face. Joe rolled back inside and attempted to win by count-out, but Zayn beat the count by about 0.001 seconds. Joe ran right into a big clothesline, and Zayn took advantage with some chops and a big cross body. Outside, Zayn set up for the torpedo DDT, and he hit it! It’s been quite a while since he hit it. I marked out a bit. Zayn rolled back inside, and Joe followed just after. Zayn went for the Helluva Kick but found an Uranage waiting for him. Joe, in a fit of rage, locked in the Coquina Clutch. Zayn tapped out shortly thereafter.

Result: Samoa Joe wins by submission

Great match. I didn’t know they put matches that good on RAW anymore, actually. We saw that Joe is an absolute badass, but that Zayn can get the upper hand in their encounters if given the chance. I hope to see more like this on RAW from now on, then watching it wouldn’t be such a chore.

Seth Rollins Injury Update

They ran a video interview with Kevin Wilk, who is apparently Rollins’ head physical therapist. He said that the only reason Seth hadn’t catastrophically damaged his knee last week was due to his knee brace. Physical Therapists, man. Always putting their selves over. He expressed a great deal of uncertainty about Rollins’ WrestleMania status.

I really wonder if they might have gone just a bit too far with that beatdown last week. I know this interview was probably kayfaybe, but Triple H bent that crutch around the leg that Rollins torn his ligament in not that long ago. It really made me kinda uncomfortable, because I know how that injury works. My younger brother had a similar injury about five months ago and is only now recovering fully. He’s obviously not a professional athlete working with top guys, but I feel like it might be a little soon for what they’re trying to do.

Charlotte vs Dana Brooke

The former mentor/protégé were filled with vitriol as they matched skills. Brooke more or less had her way with Charlotte in the early goings of the match. Charlotte tried to fire off some chops to do some damage but was cut off quick. Dana hesitated a moment too long and ran right into a Big Boot, and Charlotte picked up the win.

Result: Charlotte wins by pinfall

I can see the positives in this, I suppose. I think this was probably too short (and then ended too decisively) to really mean much, but both came out looking strong in their own ways. Dana as a fiery competitor who had her former mentor surprised, and Charlotte as the ever superior competitor who only needs one moment to end the match. This was ok, is what I’m saying.

The Highlight Reel

Chris Jericho claimed that he would expose the “real” Kevin Owens tonight. He claimed that he didn’t need Owens as a friend since he had lots of friends in the crowd. Jericho directed our attention to the titan-tron, and showed us a photo of Kevin Owens at 16, wearing a Y2J shirt. Jericho showed a twitter conversation they had when Owens first got signed by the WWE in 2014, and Owens asked Jericho for advice. Jericho talked up their upcoming WrestleMania match. Jericho was about to put Owens on the list when he was distracted by Samoa Joe. As his back was turned, he was ambushed from behind by Owens, who beat him around the ring all too easily and closed things with a Pop-Up Powerbomb. Owens tore up the pages of the List of Jericho, eating one or two along the way.

Nice! Jericho cut a decent little promo. He’s slightly hokey as a face, bragging about how many friends he has, but he made it entertaining regardless. Owens was great, too. He’s hysterical when he wants to be, but he does the role of intimidating monster exceedingly well, too. I wish he had done more like this while he was champ, but better late than never.

The Brian Kendrick vs TJ Perkins

Kendrick ate a spinning heel kick right away and got tossed outside. Kendrick avoided Perkins’ offense at first, but not the second time. Back inside, Kendrick ate a flying cross body for a two count. While discussing with the referee and consequently distracted, TJ Perkins was caught with a Sliced Bread No. 2, and Kendrick won the match.

Result: Brian Kendrick wins by pinfall

After the match was completed, Kendrick berated Akira Tozawa for not taking advantage of Kendrick’s exhausted post-match state. In fact, Kendrick continued, Tozawa wasn’t even currently in the country, as Kendrick had stolen his passport and Tozawa wasn’t able to travel as a result.

Ok, we already saw this same dynamic earlier with Charlotte and Brooke. I put up with it the first time, but I’m going to be less patient seeing the same match twice within an hour. As for the Kendrick/Tozawa feud, that was a bit silly, wasn’t it? I like how this feud has gone so far, but I’m not “stolen passports” was where I wanted it to go.

Nia Jax vs Bayley

If victorious, Jax would be moved into the championship match at WrestleMania. To stack things further against Bayley, this a no DQ match. Jax tried to come out aggressive but was greatly surprised to find Bayley pushing the pace. Bayley jumped to a sleeper hold, but Jax was able to flip the much smaller competitor off. Jax kicked Bayley to the ringside area and had the champ reeling with a headbutt. Bayley had a good moment on the outside, but it was just that: a moment. Nia went to ram Bayley into the steps, but Bayley moved out of the way at the last second. Back inside and after some commercials, Bayley was the victim of a shoulder breaker. Jax tossed Bayley this way and that, and knocked her over with a shoulder tackle and followed that up with some elbow drops, which earned her a two count. Bayley was unable to fight out of a rest hold for a bit but eventually managed. Once free, she slapped the powerhouse, which drew Jax’s ire. They went outside, and Jax swung Bayley into the barricade by the hair repeatedly. Jax grabbed a chair, but Bayley was successful in getting it away from Jax. Bayley went into desperation mode and hit a series of moves that had Jax in trouble, scoring a few near falls along the way. Jax recovered and won the match with a Samoan Drop.

Result: Nia Jax wins by pinfall

I’m not entirely certain what the purpose of the no DQ stipulation was if they weren’t going to take advantage of that. They didn’t spend any extended time outside, and that one moment with the chair (a tease) was nothing incredible. But otherwise, the match was fine enough. I still don’t really like it when champions lose clean on TV, and that is literally never going to change.

An Interview With Triple H

Commentator Michael Cole welcomed Triple H to the ring to discuss the therapist’s words earlier in the night. Trips let us all know that he was doing quite well. He claimed he wanted this match with Rollins, and that he was disappointed it was off. Hunter Hearst Helmsley accused Seth of putting too much stock in the fans’ reactions, much like Mick Foley. He said that no amount of cheers would heal Rollins’ leg, or make him a good enough competitor to hang with The Game. Cole asked The Cerebral Assassin if he would have done anything differently since meeting Rollins. The Connecticut Blue Blood explained that basically no, no he didn’t. The King of Kings said that he was done with Rollins, and gave a few comp tickets to Cole to give to Rollins later. Then, a thought hit HHH. He said that he had an idea for how the two could fight at Mania: A non-sanctioned match, which would get around the doctors not clearing him. He challenged Rollins to show up next week and sign the paperwork.

Doesn’t a contract somewhat undercut the whole point of a non-sanctioned match? Whatever, I don’t actually care. Triple H really had me laughing when he was going. I thought he was really funny last week, too. He’s been doing a great job carrying this feud, since Rollins can only show up once in a while, and I’m relatively looking forward to their match. I don’t know if it’ll be that good, given that Trips is 400 years old and Rollins can hardly walk, but hey, let’s give it a chance, yeah?

Cesaro and Sheamus vs Gallows, Anderson, Enzo and Cass

Earlier in the night, Stephanie went to undo what Foley had put together. The tag team Foley had made of Cesaro and Sheamus would put their WrestleMania match on the line in a 2-on-4 handicap match. Due to some comments the charismatic duo made before the match, Gallows and Anderson attacked Enzo and Cass. Anderson was quickly caught in a Hart-Attack-like move that put him away.

Result: Cesaro and Sheamus win by pinfall

What nonsense was this? Anderson and Gallows are the FREAKING CHAMPIONS. Why are they idiots? Idiots who lose within seconds? This really upset me.

Austin Aires vs Tony Nese

Nese rushed Aires immediately, blindsiding A Double. Nese fired off a series of kicks and knees that earned him a two count. A scoop slam and leg drop followed. Austin was continuously unable to find a moment against the stronger and larger competitor. Finally, Aires dove to the outside and smashed Nese into the barricade. Back from a break, Aires as caught up in a torture rack. Aires eventually fought out but could find no respite from the offense of Nese. Aires avoided a moon sault to find a place to get some offense in. Aires hit several moves, capping things off with a missile dropkick, a running forearm, and a Roaring Elbow to get the win, which Graves referred to as a Discus Fivearm, which is all kinds of unwieldy for a name for a finisher.

Result: Austin Aires wins by pinfall

After the match, Neville entered to throw shade at his WrestleMania opponent. He said that destroying Aires wouldn’t even be worth his time. Aires was less than impressed with Neville’s promo skills, saying that he didn’t believe the champ’s words.

This was a good match for what it was. The outcome was never really in doubt, but Aires did a phenomenal job of making Nese look like a million bucks in the process, which was getting more and more important with each passing week on RAW.

Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman

They got right to it, with Roman going after Strowman with punches and kicks. Roman kicked Braun right out of the ring but got countered while going for a drive-by dropkick. Strowman used a spinebuster to gain a two count. Roman ate a back elbow and a facebuster knee smash, before being hurled into the corner with force. Strowman grabbed one hell of a chinlock and ground Roman down with the hold. Roman was able to eventually work his way out, but couldn’t put much of a dent into the mountainous girth of Strowman. Braun hit a running splash into the corner to knock Roman down once but went to the well one too many times and Roman did a bunch of clotheslines. They traded attempts at moves for a bit until Roman lifted and dropped Strowman with a Samoan drop. Roman’s second attempt at the drive-by was successful. Strowman recovered quickly, and tossed Roman into the steps, then tossed the steps into the ring, then tossed Roman into the ring. Roman hit a superman punch while Strowman was lifting the stairs. Roman hit another superman punch and set up for a spear *GONG* when the lights went out. When they came back up, The Undertaker was stood in the middle of the ring, between the two legal competitors. They stared each other down, and then Taker chokeslammed… Strowman? He turned around into a Spear from Roman. As Roman was walking up the ramp, Taker sat up and was quite cross with Reigns.

Result: Was there a result? No bell was rung. I dunno what to tell you. I guess Strowman wins by DQ, technically, but they didn’t really mention that.

Roman and Braun had a perfectly enjoyable match between two powerhouses. I was thinking about this during the match, what do you guys think it is that makes fans appreciate Strowman but dislike Reigns? Strowman gets an even more exaggerated version of the same Superman booking Roman gets, but fans (including myself, honestly) like it from Strowman but hate it from Reigns? I think it’s probably not a rational thing, but the most rational explanation in my mind is that Strowman has mostly been kept away from the title picture, so his push isn’t coming at the very top of the company. I think they’re both decent but not outstanding workers with potential. I don’t think either has mind-blowing promo skills, etc. What do you guys think?

And that was RAW. I think the show was good throughout this week. The third hour dragged on just a bit, and the whole tag title thing really pissed me off, but this was an otherwise pretty good show.

Anyhow, subscribe to the website if you want to be notified of all our new articles each and every day (including these ones), and come say hi on twitter @Ejdupras_VVV. Let me know your thoughts there or in the comments below, thanks for reading and I hope to see you all again tomorrow night for some SmackDown.

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