WWE: Monday Night RAW was LIVE from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI on 3/13/17!
The show starts off with highlights of last week’s show, namely where Brock Lesnar hit the Universal Champion, Goldberg, with a thunderous F-5. We are treated to an early Raw gift to start this week’s show as we hear the music of “The Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar, and the challenger for the Universal Title heads to the ring, along with his “Advocate”, the man who brought ECW to prominence, Paul Heyman. it’s been made official for Wrestlemania, and Heyman has a mic to start us off this evening. Split crowd, but a grand “Suplex City” chant is very present. Heyman starts off by saying that last week was an Advocate’s fantasy as Lesnar hit Goldberg with the F-5. He said the end result was “down goes Goldberg” and then he makes a formal introduction of himself. He says last week was a vision of the future as it relates to Wrestlemania. He continues as a “Goldberg” chant breaks out and he says he is cutting the interview short. He introduces his “Goldberg” as not being there this evening, trolling the crowd, and telling them to shut their yaps. He talks about a brainstorming session with he and Brock, as every result has been a spear, a jackhammer and a Goldberg victory. Last week, the story was different. He continues on, promoting the match and they end by saying that at ‘Mania, another F-5 will lead to the crowning of a new Universal Champion.
Backstage, we see Mick Foley watching the promo on a monitor as Stephanie McMahon walks into the segment and she apologizes on how roughly she’s been treating Mick, and they talk about nurturing the growth of RAW. Foley says he responds better to a pat on the back then he does to tough love. Steph says that if Mick is ready to learn, she’s ready to teach. He agrees and Steph says he has his first lesson. Mick has to trim the fat and cut one person from the roster. Mick questions the fact that it’s three weeks before Wrestlemania. Foley has until the end of the night to do so, and he contemplates the decision, as the segment goes to commercial. Could it be Sami Zayn? Get him over to Smackdown where he might thrive. It’ll probably be something uneventful, but surely this has to lead somewhere. The last thing RAW needs to be doing is cutting the fat unless it’s in relation to a green star who might benefit from more time in developmental and there are a few talents who could use the work. I must admit, I’m intrigued by this. We might also see Foley fire himself in a valiant act, to give himself ample time to heal from his forthcoming hip surgery. Again, I’m intrigued.
We return from the break as the women’s champion, Bayley, accompanies her friend Sasha Banks, one of the women involved in the triple threat match for the title at ‘Mania, along with Charlotte, to the ring, for singles action against Dana Brooke.
Sasha Banks defeats Dana Brooke via pinfall with a sunset flip. Charlotte was at ringside while Dana was competing. I like Dana, but she is still so very green and this was over quicker than a hiccup. Sasha hit a sunset flip for the pinfall and that was that. Dana is dumbfounded in the ring as Charlotte takes a mic and berates her. Charlotte says Dana isn’t going to ride her coattails to ‘Mania. Charlotte talks about firing her, but Dana snaps and assaults her, leading the former champion into retreat mode. The fans cheer the face turn, but Dana still needs a ton of work. She gets a pretty loud chant from the crowd though, so good for her.
The Warrior Award presentation is done after the match, and the award is given to Eric Legrand! Legrand played football for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. He was a college star, who during a game against Army, suffered a severe spinal injury, which ended his young career. He was told he would never regain brain functionality, and he triumphed through the injury. I recall watching the game where he led Rutgers onto the field and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. This is really cool for WWE to induct him and his story was absolutely riveting when it happened and he travels as a motivational speaker now, sharing his story with those around the country. Congrats to Eric!
We see a graphic for later this evening which promotes a tag team match for later in the evening featuring Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens competing against Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn! Sign me up for that one!
Tony Nese and THE Brian Kendrick defeat Akira Tozawa and TJ Perkins via pinfall after Nese rolls up Perkins for the victory. Tozawa and Kendrick interacted throughout the encounter, furthering their feud, as they went to the first commercial after a topei suicida from Tozawa to Kendrick on the outside. Nese and Perkins mixed it up, and for the time allowed, they did their level best to ply their craft in front of the Detroit Rock City fans. Neville is looking on with the Cruiserweight title, from the backstage area as the four men in the ring, along with Austin Aries, will compete in a fatal five way match tomorrow night, the winner facing Neville for the strap at ‘Mania. That is going to be Aries, spoiler alert, as that match is going to have serious drawing power and should be a very entertaining athletic contest. The end of the match came to fruition as Tozawa knocked Kendrick out of the ring and then Nese pushed Perkins into him and rolled him up for the three count. Big victory for Nese!
After the match, we see a graphic talking about the winner of Cesaro and Sheamus and Enzo Amore and Big Cass, which happens later tonight, heading on to ‘Mania to compete for the tag team titles against The Club. We hear a few words from Gallows and Anderson, and they talk about taking the spotlight for themselves since nobody wants to shine it on them. We hear the music of the former Universal Champion, Kevin Owens, and he is headed to the ring. Wow, the tag team match is next!
KO speaks about his betrayal of his former best friend before the match, as they showed the footage from the shocking “Festival Of Friendship” turn once again. He says that Jericho was never his best friend, as he used Chris, as Chris moved in close to get close to KO’s Universal Title. He says Chris is mad because KO stabbed him in the back before Jericho committed the same crime. He says he outsmarted Chris Jericho, but he said Jericho got the best of him at Fastlane, costing him the match to Goldberg, but he’ll pay him back by taking the US Title at ‘Mania. After he beats him, the only thing left will be “the tears of Jericho”, “Cry it out maaaan”. Ha! Classic line from KO. Tonight, Zayn and Jericho will get a lesson taught to them. Who needs best friends when you have a destroyer? Cue Joe’s music, and the match is set to begin!
Sami Zayn and Chris Jericho defeat Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens via DQ. The crowd was hot for the match and the four men involved didn’t disappoint. Sami Zayn did a great deal of the in-ring work and after KO hit Jericho with a superkick, sendng his foe spilling from the apron to the floor, Zayn hit a topei suicida through the ropes onto Joe, tweaking his knee on the landing. KO senses blood in the water and he works the knee to the point where the ref calls for the bell. Joe slaps on the Coquina Clutch, but Jericho intercedes, knocking Joe out of the ring. He tries to apply the Walls on KO, but Joe is back up and the two sharks sense blood again, working on Jericho inside the ring. Massive “We Want Balor” chant, and yes, we do! Joe shoots Jericho into KO and he hits a Popup Powerbomb, leaving Jericho in a heap as the two villains stand tall.
Steph and Foley are looking through the roster list backstage, deciding who to fire, and Steph suggest Sami Zayn, since he’s an underperformer. Nia Jax walks into the segment and demands a championship opportunity, because even though she lost to Sasha Banks for a quick three count, she put Sasha on the shelf for a month. It’ll be Sasha and Nia later tonight and we are informed that after Roman Reigns ate a chokeslam from Booger Red himself, The Undertaker, just last week, we’ll hear from Reigns tonight.
Mick Foley is talking with Jinder Mahal after the break. He comes in peace and he isn’t there to fire “Hardbody” Mahal, thank goodness, and instead, he books him for singles action with Roman Reigns for later this evening instead. We are then treated to a new segment called “New Day Talks”, and the trio promotes their ice cream and they chat with The Big Show, shilling the new Jetsons/WWE blu-ray. I’m not gonna lie, it was cringe-worthy. The New Day do their best to make it work, when Titus O’Neil happens into the segment. Titus talks about being the man who loses his job later tonight, and he isn’t gonna allow that to be him. He asks why the Titus brand isn’t the star of the new Jetsons movie and he shoves Big Show which should lead us to a five star classic later this evening. That was a very painful segment and one of the reasons that I believe the Raw writing team should be on Foley’s list tonight. There was a lot of talent in that room and that happened. Thankfully, the tag team match is up next where Cesaro and Sheamus will compete against Enzo and Big Cass.
Sheamus/Cesaro and Enzo Amore/Big Cass is thrown out after interference from the tag team champions. Pre-match promo from Enzo and Cass which actually led to a reveal of something I’m gonna buy. It’s a coffee mug which reads “Cuppa Haters?”. I figured they’d market that sooner rather than later. Cass does get in some great reference to the NCAA tournament and being the Cinderella story. They reference the number one seeds and talk about being bracket busters. That was pretty legit. Sheamus and Cass had some great interactions as the two big men displayed their power for the fans. Enzo, as per the norm, took much of the in-ring punishment as Sheamus and Cesaro landed a powerslam maneuver that was very reminiscent of the New Day finisher. Cass gets the hot tag finally and he goes to work on Cesaro with several power moves and Sheamus gets tagged in and he goes to hit the ten beats of the bowery, but Cass hits a big boot and spills over the top rope and onto the floor with Sheamus. As promised, Anderson and Gallows make their presence known and they take out men from both teams, which will lead to the expected triple threat tag title match. The champs continue to mug the men from both teams, sending a message to both teams.
We are treated to footage of the great interaction last week between Undertaker and Roman Reigns which led to the official booking of their Wreslemania matchup and we see “The Big Dog” backstage as he heads to the ring for singles action against “Hardbody” Mahal, which will take place after the break.
Gallows and Anderson “Too Sweet” each other backstage as Mick Foley shows up in angry Foley mode. He books the expected triple threat match as he still talks about being upset with having to fire somebody by the end of the night. Don’t worry though, Gallows still calls him a nerd, ad it’s awesome. Time for singles action.
Roman Reigns defeats Jinder Mahal via pinfall with a Superman punch. Roman was putting a beating on “Hardbody” Mahal shortly before the Undertaker’s gong sounded and Roman was distracted long enough for Mahal to nearly steal a victory. Roman kicked out at two as Mahal worked him over a little longer. Dueling “Let’s go Roman/Roman sucks” chants before Reigns hits a staggering right hand and “The Big Dog” nails a Superman punch for the three count. They teased a potential Mahal upset, but this was a showcase for Reigns heading into ‘Mania and he takes a mic after the match and says he isn’t messing around and he calls out The Undertaker. They cut to a break. After they return, we await the appearance of the ‘Taker and we instead hear the music of my all time favorite wrestler, “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels! HBK is LIVE in Detroit! What a treat! Surely he is there to talk about the savagery of the Undertaker and how cutthroat Taker is during ‘Mania season. HBK is in tremendous shape for the record. Reigns said it’s pretty cool to see HBK and Michaels get a very well deserved chant from Detroit fans. Roman puts him over. Very cool. He then tells Detroit that he didn’t call out HBK, he called out the Undertaker. HBK says he saw what happened last week and he saw the distraction this week. He says Taker has already set up shop in that head of his and come ‘Mania he’s gonna eat him alive. Reigns questions HBK’s claim. Roman tells us that’s not happening. He said all he gets is the question about being in the ring with Taker. He asks instead, why doesn’t anybody ask what it’ll be like for Taker to be in the big dog’s yard? Cold. Dig that one. HBK talks about the pressure he felt, carrying the weight of the company, many hoping that he failed. He says many want Roman to fail, starting with Taker at ‘Mania. Reigns says while he appreciates the advice, with all due respect, Taker retired Shawn and Roman’s the guy to retire Taker. He drops the mic and leaves. HBK stands in the ring, and Roman looks back to him, giving a head nod. Braun Strowman takes advantage of the distraction and he bulldozes Reigns to the point where Roman literally is blasted off the stage. That was a quality sell from Roman. Strowman stares down HBK and leaves.
Stephanie is smiling from ear to ear backstage as Foley looks on, quietly. She puts over Strowman and says that obviously Braun won’t be the man who gets canned. Steph says Mick has one hour to make the decision, and Steph says that if he doesn’t decide, it’ll be something he doesn’t like. We then see footage from the impressive interaction last week between Austin Aries and Neville. Aries drilled Neville and set the stage for their road to Wrestlemania. Aries will make his RAW in-ring debut next against Ariya Daivari!
Austin Aries defeats Ariya Daivari via pinfall with a roaring elbow. Aries, just as Neville did, brought the crowd along for the ride with him. It’s guys like he, Neville, Gallagher and the like who will continue to get the fans invested in the Cruiserweight division and this was a clinic. Aries, for those who haven’t seen him, is so fluid in the ring. He nailed a front gutbuster into an STF at one point and he worked Daivari over quite well. He posed on the ropes and the end came after Aries hit a suplex variant which caused the “Persian Lion” to land hard before he ate the roaring elbow and took the L. I must admit, Ariya landed hard, and I was glad to see him get up quickly as that couldn’t have felt very nice. Great match and I very much enjoyed it. Neville was looking on from backstage the entire time. After the match, they show us the segment from the beginning of the show with Heyman and Lesnar once again before a break.
We get more promos hyping the debut of Emma and Corey Graves asks, “Are we really doing this again?” That about sums it up. Seriously, the people that write this nonsense can’t seriously believe that we’d rather watch the video packages over Emma’s in-ring presentation? Well don’t fear, we’ve got Titus O’Neil and Big Show to fill that void and that’s taking place next.
The Big Show defeats Titus O’Neil via pinfall with the chokeslam. It was three chokeslams and it was a squash match at its core. I’m not going to go into too much detail here because you didn’t miss a five star classic. They promote women’s history month after the contest with another segment promoting tennis great Billie Jean King.
Chris Jericho is holding an ice pack on his head when an announcer strolls up, Mike Rome, and asks about what happened earlier. Y2J says that at ‘Mania, he’ll get “The Revenge Of Jericho” and he says that next week on the “Highlight Reel”, his guest will be “The Real” Kevin Owens. Jericho thanks “Tom” and he is informed that this new cat isn’t Tom Phillips. He ends up getting put on the list for his troubles. A well deserved placement. “Tom” hits the bricks as we hear the music of the women’s champion. Bayley and Nia Jax do business after the break.
Bayley defeats Nia Jax via DQ after a referee stoppage. Wow, twice in one night. Nia uses her power early and often, keeping the champ grounded before flinging the ring steps in her general direction outside the ring at one point. After a mid-match break, Bayley made a good comeback which was ultimately halted with Nia utilizing some class ruthless aggression. After several warnings, the ref tossed the match out, awarding it to Bayley and she responded by throwing Bayley into the barrier. Nia was showing visible signs of frustration after being omitted from the ‘Mania title match. After tonight’s dominant showing from Jax, we’ll see what happens. She’s still quite green herself, but she has a great deal of promise. She’s incredibly unique and I think she can blossom into a very dominant champion sooner rather than later. After the break, Mick Foley will make his decision on who’s getting “future endeavored”.
Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon meet in the ring as expected to close the show. Foley thanks Steph for giving him the tough assignment and he is glad to be able to deliver the news. Foley says that after careful deliberation, the name he’s come up with is Stephanie McMahon. She no-sells it to a massive “Yes” chant. They argue some more and Foley says that she treats the superstar like jokes and chattel. Foley said he valued and treasured their friendship of eighteen years. Foley said she lied to him about Triple H giving Kevin Owens the Universal Title. Foley says that Triple H isn’t a creator, just a man who assembled his own personal army. Steph cuts him off, but he says he won’t be silence. BEHOLD, THE KING…THE KING OF KINGS! WWE COO Triple H is out to stand side by side with his beloved wife and no doubt, he’s there to help Foley off on his quest to enjoy rehabilitation for his forthcoming hip surgery. Hunter tells Foley if he’s got something to say, say it to his face. Foley said he would, but he’s been in the shadows. Triple H said that he’s been there the entire time. Triple H said he doesn’t need a lawsuit three weeks before ‘Mania, and if he wasn’t a business man, he’d tear off Foley’s leg and beat him with it. He mocks Foley’s cheap pop. He says he’s working so hard at creating the future, so he doesn’t have to let at pathetic has-beens like him anymore. He brought him back because Steph has a big heart. Do not mistake her heart for her being able to keep a strong business savvy. Triple H says Foley is dangerously close to being shuffled out to telling his story around the globe. Foley says he has the respect of the Raw talent because he doesn’t have to tell Triple H he likes him like the others and he doesn’t need the company either. He can look in the mirror and he likes what he sees. Triple H is glad, but he wonders how Mick’s kids will feel? Dewey works at the office, and Noelle wants to be a superstar. He strikes a chord with Foley. Triple H will gladly make it to where Foley has to drive them to the unemployment office. Triple H tells him to tuck his tail and head back up the ramp and do his job to the best of his abilities. Triple H says that if Steph tells him to jump, he better jump. He tells him to get out of his ring. Foley stops in the corner and he Triple H approaches and he puts Mr. Socko down the Game’s gullet. Steph hits a low blow on Foley. Triple H takes off the suit jacket and undoes the cuff, getting ready to teach Foley a thing or two about a thing or two. We hear the music of “The Architect”, but Seth Rollins comes out on a crutch! He’s going to try to defend Foley. He drops the crutch and debuts a brand new “Kingslayer” shirt! Wow! What tenacity! Holy cow, that’s a Cena recovery by Rollins and it’s amazing. He handles The Game and disposes of him, dumping him out of the ring. Hunter grabs the crutch and he reenters the ring, but Hunter is quickly cut off. Triple H takes advantage of the situation quickly and he uses the crutch on the bad knee of Rollins. The Cerebral Assassin removes his shirt and he puts a vicious leglock on Rollins, who is writhing in pain. The show ends as Seth stands up and takes one more crutch shot to the knee, the villain standing tall on the Road to Wrestlemania!
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