WWE: Monday Night RAW was LIVE from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on 3/20/17!
The show starts off with the RAW General Manager, Mick Foley, and the Raw GM, Stephanie McMahon and the recap of the events of last week. Foley reads a pre-written apology off of index cards and then he says he is taking a leave of absence, he then goes into business for himself, before Steph comes out to the ring. I’ll spare you the details of the exchange, as it was lengthy, and involved the usual dressing down of Foley, but it lead to his dismissal as the RAW Commissioner as he prepares to take time off for sorely needed hip surgery, which we all wish him well with. As he is being dismissed, Sami Zayn makes his way down to the ring and says that what she’s doing to Mick Foley to start the show is wrong. He then says most of the decisions she’s made are wrong and she tells him to help him take his broken down mentor away from the ring as a massive “CM Punk” chant begins. Zayn says Foley has shown more class and integrity in nine months then she has her whole life. He tells her that she should be ashamed that he never became one of her “yes” men. She says he’s a talented guy, but he isn’t even on the level worthy of speaking to her. She tells him to leave the ring and go figure out how to make this up to her. He prepares to leave, but he stops and says he’s about doing the right thing, albeit not always the smart thing. He says he isn’t going anywhere and we hear the music of the Destroyer, and Samoa Joe hits the ring. A massive “Joe” chant as Steph orders Foley away once again and she books Zayn and Joe for right now. Zayn hits a topei suicida on Joe before he even removes his jacket and hat. They hit a break and come back with the match.
Samoa Joe defeats Sami Zayn via submission with the Coquina Clutch. Both men looked like a million bucks in this one, but Joe really put in work here. He hit several stiff kicks and moved so fluidly before he nailed a crisp powerslam on Zayn, taking charge of the match for a time. Power offense followed, as Joe rained down on Sami with clubbing blows. You can hear a “We Want Paige” chant from the crowd, and no offense, get over yourselves. They’d chanted it several times throughout the night and we even heard a chant for Brad Maddox, a charisma black hole, if ever there were. We all know what happened, and you paid your money to be there, so chant what you want, but this was a really good match, so I found it incredbly off-putting during this one for sure. I wish at times you had an audio capability to drown out the crowd and simply enjoy the action and the commentary. The crowd is often quiet and shows respect to the athlete during New Japan bouts, maybe we can learn a few things from that. My apologies for a mini rant there, but they came back from the break and kept after it, as you’d expect from these two. Joe hit a running senton and employed a submission hold before Zayn fought out of it, showing his resilience. Joe killed the momentum quickly with a vicious kick before posting Zayn on the outside. Zayn beats a ten count back into the ring and he downs Joe with a clothesline. Joe has been opened up somehow on the outside and Zayn comes through with that brilliant diving tornado DDT through the middle ropes. Back in the ring, Zayn tries for the Helluva kick, but he eats a Uranage and then Joe slaps on the Coquina Clutch for the victory after a hard fought and great opening match!
We find out that later tonight we’ll see singles action between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman, which I’m completely okay with if Strowman comes away with a victory and we’ll also have a further look into the forthcoming Universal Title match between the champion, Goldberg, and “The Beast” Brock Lesnar.
After the break, Foley is making his exit and he stops to embrace Sheamus and Cesaro, who thank him for believing in them. He shakes hands with TJ Perkins, Mustafa Ali and others and then the crowd pops as he has an emotional moment with Bayley, the women’s champion. He is then confronted by Triple H who tells him to “Have A Nice Day”. Savage. Classic Game. I literally laughed as loud after that as Foley makes his exit. We see the clip of last week where Seth Rollins returned last week, only to see his knee bludgeoned by a crutch-wielding Game. That was a great moment. We will hear from the Game later on in a sit-down interview, but before that, we hear from Seth Rollins’ doctor that he won’t be cleared before ‘Mania. Right. We all believe that, after he entered the ring last week and had his knee whacked with a crutch. Charlotte heads to the ring for singles action after the break!
Charlotte defeats Dana Brooke via pinfall with a big boot. Dana Brooke shows some heart in this contest as she engages her former mentor before her triple threat match at ‘Mania. Charlotte sold the turn well as she made Dana look really good, before coming back with a huge boot for the pinfall. The fans chanted for Paige once again, and it’s being ignored before shutting down quickly. After the break, we’re gonna enjoy “The Highlight Reel” with US Champ, Chris Jericho, where his guest will be “The Real” Kevin Owens. Should be good!
Stephanie McMahon runs into Bayley backstage, and Bayley is sad. Steph offers her a hug and Bayley declines one. Bayley says she admired Steph growing up, but she’s become a bully and she uses her power to hurt people. Steph says a strong women makes the tough decisions and now Bayley will have to earn her spot. As expected, Steph books Nia Jax and Bayley tonight, and if Bayley loses, Nia is added to the title match at ‘Mania. The match is a no DQ match. Steph warns Bayley to watch out, because Nia is a strong woman who does like to use her power to hurt people. Jericho heads to the ring!
“The Highlight Reel” is underway and Jericho begins by playing to the crowd who shower him with cheers and he gets a massive pop. He calls them “the friends of Jericho” and asks that they “cheer him on, maaaaan!”. We then get to see “The Real” Kevin Owens, which is a sixteen year old KO doing the Jericho pose while wearing a “Y2J” shirt. He’s posing in front of a poster of a buxon woman and you can see posters of Y2J, DX and others. Jericho says he’s “marking out maaaan”, as were we all back then Chris, as were we all! Jericho shows a twitter convo where KO “slid up in his DM” and reached out to the veteran Jericho for advice. KO was worried about ticking people off back then and he wanted to make a good impression on the WWE fans and the brass. Jericho gave him sage advice. Jericho says he wants all the time spent mentoring KO back. He wants back the night that he spent in the hospital after the attack, and he wants to see KO’s face at ‘Mania after Jericho defeats him. He says KO is nervous, intimidated and that they weren’t friends. Jericho says he is KO’s hero, and his idol. Jericho says that as his hero, as the “ayatollah of Rock’N’Rolla”, he is going to teach KO a lesson. This was just a great promo. It’s not surprising, as you expect it from Jericho at this point. He calls KO a “stupid idiot” and the crowd chants along. He then says, you know what happens Kevin Owens, when you betray Chris Jericho, when you stab him in the back. The pen is held high, but Samoa Joe shows up on the ramp, distracting Jericho long enough for KO to sneak up from behind, attacking Jericho. Jericho tries to fight back, but it’s too much for him. KO shoots him into the ropes and delivers a sound Popup Powerbomb that drives Jericho into the mat. KO picks up the “List Of Jericho” and removes the pages with all the names on them, tearing them asunder and he gets more heat then anyone in the history of the company. He is destroyed by boos from the raucous crowd, and you’d think Vinnie Mac was there because he gets the A-hole chant. He leaves the ring, heading up the ramp along with Joe. We then hear about the sit-down interview with Triple H which will take place later tonight, and we see highlights of the Reigns/Strowman feud before the main event puts them in the ring together once again.
THE Brian Kendrick defeats TJ Perkins via pinfall with Sliced Bread #2. TJP started off with control of the action as he tried to avoid “lessons” from Kendrick. Kendrick came back with SB for the victory and after the bout, he asks where Akira Tozawa is. Kendrick says he wanted to teach him another “lesson”, but he knows that Tozawa isn’t even in the country. Kendrick says he knows that, because he has Tozawa’s passport. He says he “found” the passport on the locker room floor last week. He tells him to be careful where he leaves his things and he takes his leave after the victory. After the break, we’ll have the video package hyping up the Universal Title match.
The video package was a hype machine. It went into the history between both men and promoted the contest as expected. Nia Jax is then shown heading to the ring for her match with Bayley, and it’s next!
Before the women’s match, Stephanie McMahon interrupts a conversation with Cesaro and Sheamus. She tells them that they will have to re-earn their spot in the tag title match at ‘Mania as they’ll be competing in a 2 on 4 match against Enzo Amore and Big Cass and Gallows and Anderson, the tag champs, later tonight. Bayley heads to the ring to face Nia with ‘Mania implications.
Nia Jax defeats Bayley via pinfall with a Samoan drop to earn her place in the Wrestlemania Women’s Title match. Nia uses her power early in the match and she works Bayley over before a break in the match. She threatens the champ with a powerbomb on the floor, but Bayley hangs on and counters with some kicks. Nia charges at her, but Bayley sidesteps and Nia hits the ring steps before the commercial. After the break, Nia is back in charge with a grounded headlock. Sasha Banks is shown watching on a monitor backstage as Nia continues to dominate, grounding Bayley with a charge before landing two elbowdrops. Charlotte is shown watching the monitors backstage as well. Bayley rolls outside to regain her composure, but Nia takes charge and she slings her into the barricade. Nia grabs a chair, trying to bring it into the match, but Bayley kicks it away as Bayley tries to fight back again. Bayley hits a running knee for a nearfall. Bayley with several running elbow strikes to the back. Nia fights back and she eventually squashes the comeback, putting the finishing touches on Bayley after pulling her off the top rope and ending the contest with a Samoan drop. Nia is heading to Wrestlemania as it’s now a fatal four way.
After the contest, we get a dedication to the incomparable Mae Young in honor of women’s history month. Mae was fantastic, and nothing will ever beat her showing up at the anniversary show with her son “the hand”. A great follow-up to a horrible story. We are very thankful for Mae’s contributions to the industry. The interview with Triple H is up next!
Triple H joins Michael Cole in the ring for a sit-down interview as Triple H starts off by asking everyone how they are doing and he says he is “having a nice day”. The crowd boos and Cole starts off by asking how Hunter feels about Seth Rollins not being cleared by Dr. Wilkes. A “CM Punk” chant breaks out and Hunter rightfully ignores it. Triple H says Seth not making it to ‘Mania is his own fault. He said Seth made the mistake of not listening to Hunter, he started listening to the crowd and the people cheering and roaring for him. Triple H says depending on the crowd is an insecurity thing. He never needed them to justify how good he was, he knew it. He asks how many times the crowd has ruined lives, just like they did with Mick Foley? A “Foley” chant breaks out as Hunter commands the sheeple and they comply. He blames them for what happened to Foley and he brings it full circle and back to Seth Rollins and what happened last week. We see the footage of the attack from last week once again. After the video, Triple H once again talks about the history of “The Architect” and how Hunter gave him the blueprint. Triple H then mocks the “millenials” in the crowd and he compares Seth Rollins to them. When he got knocked down, he just whined about it. That was pretty funny. Triple H says he finds it funny that “the crutch” picked up an actual crutch and then beat Seth with it. Triple H says Seth won’t make it to Wrestlemania for the second year in a row, so as of now, Hunter is done. He then hands a few comp tickets to Michael Cole to give to Seth, a few nosebleed seats. Hunter prepares to leave, but Triple H asks everyone to wait a second. He proposes an idea if Seth wants to compete. He proposes having Seth sign a “hold harmless” agreement. They are gonna have a non-sanctioned match if Seth complies. I personally think that adds an element of intrigue to a match I’ve already been looking forward too. Hunter tells Seth to show up next week and they’ll make it official. They head to break.
Cesaro and Sheamus defeat Gallows and Anderson/Enzo Amore and Big Cass via pinfall after a Brogue Kick by Sheamus on Anderson. After the pre-match fun with Enzo and Cass, they are quickly attacked by their own partners as Anderson enters the ring and immediately falls prey to a big swing and then he eats a Brogue Kick for a quick three. Very, very stupid way to book your tag champs as it makes them not only look foolish by taking the opportunity to eliminate a team from Wrestlemania, but they are quickly beaten after that. Control your time better, Raw team. That was a waste of the viewer’s time. Cass and Enzo attack the champs after the match and that’s that.
The New Day are shown backstage after the match, and Cole introduces them as the hosts of ‘Mania. They promote the various matches and you can hear the crowd going in on Xavier Woods after the events of the weekend, if you wiiiiiill, to quote the late Dusty Rhodes. This was an ideal time for it, and Woods played into it. They talk about the Smackdown matches as well. We then hear the music of “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived”, Austin Aries, and he’ll be in action next!
Austin Aries defeats Tony Nese via pinfall with the Discus Fivearm. This was a good match. Nese really had a chance to work a style that compliments his as he and Aries paired off. Nese showcased some of his offense as did A-double and they headed into the first break after Aries dove onto Nese on the outside. Nese is in control after the break, but Aries comes back with the facebuster/STO combo before hitting the hurricane elbow. Aries nails a missle dropkick off the top rope, before hitting a splash in the corner, and the discus fivearm for the victory. Aries has the greatest names for his finishers. Neville comes out onto the ramp after the match and before he can get rolling, Aries has a mic in hand and he says he doesn’t have an exclusive interview scheduled with him, so why is he out there? Neville says he can come to the ring to obliterate him, but why bother? He says Aries is no threat and he’s beneath him. Aries mocks his interview, and he says he calls it unbelievable. He says Neville has spoken, but he sees something different. He sees a man that is afraid to step in the ring because Aries isn’t at his level, he’s above it. Aries then does a perfect impression of Neville’s accent. He says after ‘Mania, when he has the strap, this whole facade that Neville has perpetrated will be over.
We come back and we see highlights of a classic match between Kurt Angle and “The Real” Brock Lesnar from 2003. We then get promotion for the Hall Of Fame ceremony and that’ll be worth it just for all the talent being inducted, but with news coming out that Jim Cornette will be inducting the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express into the Hall, Kevin Dunn will surely have his hand on the censors. That’ll be good.
Charlie tries to get a word with Braun Strowman before the main event and Strowman says tonight won’t be a match, it’ll be a fight and if the Undertaker wants Roman at Wrestlemania, he’ll have to scrape him off the mat. The main event is up next!
Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman is ruled a no contest after an appearance from the Undertaker. An incredible spot early on as Roman went for the drive-by, but Strowman clotheslines him and basically pins him on the apron. That looked amazing. Strowman works “The Big Dog” over in the ring, taking charge of the main event despite the fact that Reigns held his own early on in the contest. Strowman slings Reigns into the turnbuckle, and this time it doesn’t break. A chinlock applied by Strowman as Reigns looks dazed and confused. Reigns fights his way back to his feet and tries for the comeback, but he is quickly grounded again. Strowman hits several charges in the corner, but Reigns moves and Strowman posts himself. Reigns hits a huge boot and fires off several clotheslines in the corner. He escapes a chokeslam attempt before countering with an uppercut and a Samoan drop. Goodness gracious, that was one heck of a display of strength. He succeeds in hitting the drive-by this time around. Strowman grabs the ring steps and he tries to bring them into the ring but he is stopped with a superman punch. Strowman tries for the powerslam as he catches Roman off a counter, but Reigns hits another superman punch. Reigns is about to hit the spear, but we hear the gog and the legendary Undertaker appears in the ring. The two men have a stare-down as a huge chant ensues for the Deadman. Strowman comes to his feet and he tries to attack Taker, but Taker turns and nails him with a chokeslam. Booger Red turns around and eats a spear as the crowd boos. Roman’s music plays and that’s how it ends, the “Big Dog” standing tall.
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