WWE: Monday Night RAW was LIVE from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL on 3/6/17!
The show starts off with Fastlane highlights. We see the main event finish where the distraction of a returning Chris Jericho saw the Universal Championship change hands as Kevin Owens lost the title to newly crowned champ, Goldberg after a spear and a Jackhammer. Goldberg heads to ‘Mania to take on the “Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar in a highly touted rematch.
Break the wall down! We start off with Chris Jericho getting a monstrous and well deserved pop from the Chicago fans. The United States champion heads to the ring, 27 days away from Wrestlemania, and he climbs into the ring, taking a mic and wielding it as a weapon as he’s done for so many years. He’s rockin’ the scruff, having a beard and mustache secured within his employ as a “Y2J” chant breaks out. He references the crowd and calls Chi-town the birthplace of Y2J. He says tonight it’s the home of his resurrection. He says he screwed Owens last night, he references the grand betrayal at the Vegas “Festival Of Friendship”. He says KO took a knife and stabbed it into the “back of Jericho” and “twisted it in maaaan”. Don’t ever leave us again Chris. He wants to know “why?”. The crowd is frantic for Chris. Here comes the former champion. Kevin Owens is out and he doesn’t look happy. KO says after last night, do you really think you’re getting answers? He gets “quiet” bombed by Jericho. No more BS. He wants to know why? KO says he stabbed him in the back because Chris was never his best friend. He said his best friend was Sami Zayn and he did that years back. KO says Chris was just a tool that he used. Triple H told KO that everyone was coming for him, and he did what he needed to do to keep the title. KO used Jericho because he’d been to the mountain top and he was gullible enough to play along. He outlived his usefulness, specifically when he became a burden by accepting the match with Goldberg. KO is man enough to admit that Jericho outsmarted him last night and it cost him the belt. KO says at the Festival, he spared him. He attacked him just enough to let him walk away. He calls letting him keep walking his biggest mistake. He says Jericho’s biggest mistake was costing him the title. Jericho says the mistake was trusting KO. He says eight years ago, he’d have done the same. Jericho says KO isn’t his best friend and he’s got thousands of pals and buddies in Chi-town. They are “the friends of Jericho”. “Cheer me on, maaaan!” Electrifying. Jericho said what happened last night was just the beginning. The road will take many twists and turns and it leads to Jericho vs. Owens at ‘Mania! KO says he’ll get the Universal Title back when he’s ready, but he wants to take Jericho’s US Title away from him to pay him back. KO agrees and the title match is booked. Jericho says why wait for ‘Mania, let’s do it now! KO charges the ring and Samoa Joe joins him. They work Jericho over and here comes Sami Zayn! Zayn is brandishing a steel chair and he uses the equalizer to event the odds, but Joe and KO seize the upper hand. Jericho grabs a chair and he cleans house as the crowd pops for the face tandem. Zayn and Jericho stand tall heading into the first break and it was a good opening segment.
Kevin Owens defeats Sami Zayn via pinfall with a Popup Powerbomb. Zayn and Owens was booked during the break and as expected, it delivers. The two have such tremendous chemistry after working against one another for so many years. Great way to get the Chicago crowd behind the broadcast early as fans appreciate hard-hitting contests and no BS. Haven’t had a “CM Punk” chant in the first fifteen minutes, that’s a plus. KO nails the running cannonball in the corner, and he tries for the Popup Powerbomb, but it’s countered by Zayn. Zayn nails a scintillating somersault plancha over both the referee and the ropes, nailing Owens. Zayn landed hard and sells the injury as KO nails a Popup Powerbomb, but he doesn’t go for the cover, instead roughing Zayn up with staggering and stiff shots. KO hits a somersault leg drop across the neck of Zayn. Pumphandle driver bringing the neck of Zayn across the knee. A second Popup Powerbomb and a three count. Disgusted, but successful, Owens heads to the pay window at the expense of his former best friend. As expected, a graphic shows us that Joe and Jericho will battle later on.
Goldberg will be coronated later this evening, and after a very good matchup last night where he defended the title against “Gentleman” Jack Gallagher, Neville defends the Cruiserweight Title after the break against “The Outlandish” Rich Swann!
Neville defeats Rich Swann via submission with the Rings Of Saturn to retain the Cruiserweight Title. Swann’s athleticism is surreal. He just makes taking flight look so effortless. Neville takes control after slinging Swann into the ring apron before a poorly timed commercial. They need to stop cutting the Cruiserweight matches off within a minute of them starting. It serves no purpose to advance the division and hurts the efforts of the athletes. In this case, two premiere talents putting in work. After the break, Neville is still in charge, keeping Swann grounded. Austin Aries, who is on commentary as per usual, gets a massive chant from the Chicago crowd. Swann catches Neville with an inzaguri as he tries for a high risk move. Swann hits a swanton bomb off the top rope onto Neville on the floor! Wow! That was impressive! Hurricana and back kick by Swann and a two count following a Michinoku Driver from Swann. Neville back in control after a top rope superplex, and Swann wisely rolls out to the floor. Another commercial as Neville throws Swann into the barricade outside the ring. Two breaks?! Well, at least they are getting some time. Back with Swann taking charge and he nails a hard kick and heads up top. He misses the Phoenix Splash and Neville locks in the submission after a great match, despite the commercial breaks. Swann is amazing and Neville continues to impress. Very cool.
Austin Aries interviews Neville after the match. He asks him how it feels to still be atop the mountain? Neville doesn’t respond as he listens to the massive “Austin Aries” chant. He thanks the crowd as Neville states that he did exactly what he said he would do. He says to all of those who have doubted and overlooked him, look at me now! He says he’s laid waste to pretender after pretender. He says there is nobody on 205 live that holds a candle to the King of the Cruiserweights. Aries agrees with him and he asks about the competition once again, trolling the crowd. The WWE Universe might disagree as Aries lets Neville know. Neville says he cannot seriously be suggesting himself. He calls Aries delusional if he thinks he even on the same level as he is. Neville says he’s running out of patience and he tells him to retreat to the announcer’s table. He says it’s his ring and he tells Austin to leave before he re-breaks his orbital socket. Aries removes his glasses as Neville gets in his face. He asks what Austin is gonna do about it? Aries says he’s got one more question, actually, it’s more of a statement. He decks Neville! He drills him again and A-DOUBLE sends the King to the back! Aries vs. Neville at ‘Mania?! Yeah. That’s something I can definitely get behind. That’s gonna be awesome and such a great wrestling match.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass are chatting about a rematch later against Gallows and Anderson for the tag straps. Enzo calls Cesaro and Sheamus a cuppa haters as Cesaro says it’s a “cuppa coffee” and Sheamus cracks on him too. They say that Enzo and Cass are gonna choke, and Enzo says the only thing they’ll be choking on is bubbly after they win the titles. We see a shot of Goldberg’s dressing room door and the new Universal Champion is headed to the ring after the break!
Goldberg is out to a massive pop and plenty of “Goldberg” chants, even in the home that Punk built. That’s pretty darn impressive. He’s rockin’ a new shirt that Shopzone will probably sell a bunch of. It’s pretty cool. There are a smattering of boos. You knew they’d be there in Chi-town. Goldberg says the belt belongs to the fans, just as much as it’s his. He couldn’t have done it without us. He’s humbled and he’s honored to be the champ. He wants to divulge some information that he’s never made public. There’s the “CM Punk” chant finally. Goldberg acknowledges the chant. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…Here comes the “Advocate” for the “Beast Incarnate”, Paul Heyman! Paul says he’s not man enough to even try to hit the ring for a handshake from the new champ. He says it’s not his hand that should be shaking Bill’s. Paul says he didn’t come to Chicago alone. He promotes the title match at ‘Mania and he introduces BROCK LESNAR! “The Beast” is out to a massive pop and he stalks his prey, the new champ. He and Heyman head to the ring, and Heyman formally introduces the two men and he says Brock came to Chicago to shake Bill’s hand and to congratulate him. Paul says Brock is the only person happier than Bill that he’s won the title. Heyman puts Goldberg over as a monster in the same vein as Lesnar. He says Bill is a conqueror in the same regard. He says at ‘Mania, only one walks out the winner and the other, will be the loser. Paul says that he’ll let everyone in on a spoiler, and that at ‘Mania, Lesnar will be the new Universal Champ. Paul says all the fans will look at Goldberg and see Brock’s synonym for a female dog. Goldberg turns his eyes and Brock strikes. He hoists the champ up and he delivers an F-5! Goldberg is left laying as Lesnar finally one-ups Bill after months of being embarrassed at his hand. Goldberg sells the strength of the move, and he finally comes to his feet, grabbing the title to end the segment. Well done. Brock had to look strong for once to keep the match interesting.
We then see highlights of Roman Reigns beating Braun Strowman last night. He beat him clean. I don’t agree with that decision, but it happened. A graphic states that tonight, Strowman finishes what he started last night with Reigns. The tag title rematch is up next.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson defeat Enzo Amore and Big Cass via DQ after interference from Sheamus and Cesaro. Enzo and Cass fire up the crowd before the match with Jordan references a plenty and they reference the controversial finish to the match last night where Karl Anderson had the pin and Gallows pushed Enzo’s foot off the ropes. The match is all about the faces before the first commercial break as Cass cleans house. Sheamus and a well-caffeinated Cesaro appear on the ramp and make their way down to ringside. After a break, the heels are in charge, but Enzo turns the tide with a beautiful spinning DDT on Gallows. Karl is in and Cass gets the hot tag and takes charge. He nails an Empire elbow, but Gallows breaks it up. The action spills to the outside and it results in Cesaro’s coffee getting spilled on him. The former champs enter the ring, striking the champs and the match in DQ. A massive brawl ensues which sees Cesaro and Sheamus standing tall as a Brogue Kick disposes of Enzo. We seem to be looking at a three way dance for the straps at ‘Mania. I’m okay with that.
The latest inductee to the Hall of Fame for the 2017 class is announced and it’s the legendary “Ravishing” Rick Rude! That’s incredible! Rude was one of my top two wrestlers in the eighties with Jake Roberts being the other. Rude wearing the tights featuring the ex-wife of Roberts was one of the greatest moments ever. He took the Intercontinetal Title from the Ulimate Warrior at Wrestlemania V and was one of the original members of DX. They got this one right! Incredible!
Back from the break and Mick Foley is intervening in an argument between Enzo and Cass and Sheamus and Cesaro. He books a match next week where the winner goes on to face the champs at ‘Mania. Stephanie McMahon shows up, and she tells Mick to follow her to the office. We head to the ring for Cruiserweight action. It’ll be Akira Tozawa against Ariya Daivari.
Akira Tozawa defeats Ariya Daivari via pinfall with a snap German suplex. Daivari was up to the task of facing Tozawa as he got some good offense in, but Tozawa was too quick for him. He caught Daivari with the snap german after Daivari missed a clothesline and Tozawa took a mic and called THE Brian Kendrick out after the match. Kendrick says he’ll answer the challenge tomorrow night on 205 Live. He leaves Tozawa with a message about being careful what he wishes for.
AWWWWWW Chicago! The Wrestlemania hosts, the former tag team champions, The New Day, are out and they are riding a New Day POPS ice cream bicycle cart. They are twirling umbrellas and having a good time as they make their way into the ring. Xavier Woods calls it the “Pops Cycle”. Kofi says it’s a “mouth full of magic, I gotta have it”. He says it represents the Universe. They talk about hosting Wrestlemania and they are set to host their foot up the buns of Primo and Epico, The Shining Stars. The tag match is next as the Stars are already in the ring.
The New Day defeat The Shining Stars via pinfall with the Midnight Hour. Kofi and Big E. make short work of the Stars as this was nothing more than a glorified squash. Primo and Epico had very brief early offense, but this was done to treat the crowd to some entertainment and keep the New Day relevant in the tag division. After the match, we see a video package highlighting Trish Stratus and Lita in honor of women’s month. After the break, we’ll see Bayley talking about being Wrestlemania bound and who her opponent will be.
Mick Foley introduces Bayley after the break and she gets a great reaction from the Chicago crowd after retaining her title all while breaking Charlotte’s PPV win streak at the same time. She acknowledges how controversial the end of the match was. Sasha ran down and provided enough distraction for Bayley to hit her finish for the three count. Bayley says her calendar year revolves around Wrestlemania and she references Lita introducing the new title which Charlotte won in the match last year against Sasha and Smackdown’s Becky Lynch. She says that she made herself a promise at that time that she’d be there next year. She says it doesn’t feel right though, because of how it happened. Foley said it didn’t matter how she got there, but she did. He asks her who her opponent is gonna be and we hear the music of “The Boss”. Sasha Banks is out after an impressive win against Nia Jax last night. Sasha says just because Charlotte said that Dana Brooke was sent back to the locker room, it didn’t mean she’d stay there. Sasha says that she wants the title match at ‘Mania for the strap. Foley asks the crowd their opinion and they pop for it. Cue Charlotte’s music and the former champ heads to state her opinion. Good timing on her part. She is joined by her protege, Dana Brooke. Charlotte says it’s a conspiracy theory of sorts, referencing the plan to see a Sasha/Bayley title match. Charlotte says Sasha is using Bayley, and she blames Mick for letting his “two favorite daughters” headline ‘Mania. She calls herself a victim and says she was robbed last night. Stephanie McMahon has heard enough the Commish makes her presence known. They bury her with a “CM Punk” chant. She calls them predictable. She says they are just like Punk, and she calls them losers. She says they all choose to cheer for the wrong person, like they do with Sasha Banks. Holy crap, they hijack the arena with a Punk chant after that. Steph keeps on keepin’ on, stating Charlotte’s case. Foley tries to react as Steph tells him to book Bayley and Charlotte. Foley proposes a match next week between Charlotte and Sasha, and if Sasha wins, she’s in the title match with Bayley. Steph says if she wins, it’s a triple threat and she wants to see where Sasha’s loyalty lies. Sasha and Bayley is booked for tonight instead, and if Sasha wins, she’s in and it’s a triple threat and it’s up next!
Sasha Banks defeats Bayley via submission with the Banks Statement to make the women’s title match at Wrestlemania a Triple Threat. Bayley and Sasha pull out all the stops early as you’d expect. They treat the crowd to a pretty watchable match before they head to the first break and they’ve really given the Chicago crowd a few quality engagements tonight already, with the Jericho/Joe match still to come in the main event. After the break, Sasha is in control. After a snide remark from Byron Saxton, Charlotte, who was on commentary, along with Dana, head to the ring for a better look at the action. Sasha misses the double knees in the corner and then Bayley misses a high cross body. Sasha locks her in the Banks Statement, but the champ gets to the ropes. Sasha locks her back in the hold as Bayley tries to get to the ropes. Dana tries to interfere, but Sasha kicks her away from the equation and she eventually gets Bayley to tap! She’s in! After the match, Charlotte attacks both women and stands tall as the pieces are in play for ‘Mania and it looks to be setting the stage for a good one.
They show the highlights of the Fastlane match between Reigns and Strowman from last night and they highlight their confrontation later once again, but up next, we check on the rehab of Seth Rollins and his road to ‘Mania against Triple H. After the break, Roman Reigns is asked about Braun saying he’s gonna handle him later and Reigns says he’s not a hard man to find. The video of Rollins’ recovery is just that. It’s clips of his rehabilitation in Birmingham with the specialists and it looks excruciating. Rollins seems up to the task however and he’s giving it all he’s got. He says he’ll do whatever it takes to get to Wrestlemania, one way or another. Triple H joins the Raw team live via satellite. He’s asked about the video and Triple H says you gotta take your hat off to the WWE. He puts away Kevin Wilke and he says the fed spares no expense when it comes to the health and wellness of the talent. He hopes Seth listens to that advice. He says that when Seth said he’d be at ‘Mania, he calls it ignorant. Triple H calls Seth a liar and he says he lied about being “the man”. Triple H says his nicknames were given to him and people called him “the man” because he was. He isn’t lying. Triple H was a top hand for years and a quality match every time. Triple H says put all the videos and world class medical care aside, if Seth shows up at ‘Mania to call him out, it’ll be the last thing he ever does. We then hear the music of the Destroyer and it looks like Jericho and Joe is up now and Roman and Braun will close the show. Taker sighting perhaps? We get an Emma coming soon video after the break and before the match. Good gracious, just bring her back already. What idiots are writing this? Seriously? She’s a super-talented hand that would add quite a bit to the women’s division. Is Big Johnny hiding backstage?
Samoa Joe defeats Chris Jericho via countout. Joe bullies Jericho early on, but Jericho comes roaring back with a cross body for a two count. Joe back in charge with stomps and he mandhandles Jericho, grounding him with a Fujiwara armbar. Jericho is writhing in pain, but he refuses to submit. Jericho counters into a pinning situation for a two count. He tries for the Walls, but Joe pushes him off. Jericho nails an inzaguri and he dropkicks Joe out of the ring. A springboard and another dropkick and Joe is to the outside of his own volition. Jericho out of the ring and he’s trapped in the Coquina Clutch on the floor. The ref is counting both men out. Joe releases the hold and he rolls back into the ring, getting the countout victory. Wow. They are not only booking Joe like a monster, but a brilliant tactician as well. Joe celebrates, but Jericho gets back in the ring and he pulls off a Codebreaker! He loses the match, but wins the war of the evening. That wasn’t given much time, but that’s a match I’d like to see again. We see Braun Strowman stalking towards the ring and after the final commercial, he’ll confront Roman Reigns.
BRAAAAAUN Strowman is not in a good mood. He hits the ring and grabs a mic. I have so many thoughts on ending his streak and how and why it happened. That’s a column for another week though. He doesn’t wanna have a match with Roman, he wants him to come out there like a man so Strowman can rib him apart from limb to limb. He references the fact that Chicago doesn’t like Roman and neither does he! That was awesome! The music of the “Big Dog” starts, but it’s not even five seconds into it and we hear the music of the DEADMAN! The Phenom, Booger Red, Big Evil himself is in Chi-town! The legendary Undertaker methodically makes his way to the ring, his eyes locked on Strowman. Strowman’s eyes show the respect that he has for The Phenom and the wily veteran and locker room leader enters the ring to make his intentions known for ‘Mania. The two men lock eyes and Strowman seems to heed Taker’s message. Is Braun allowing the Deadman to handle “The Guy” for him? Strowman leaves the crowd as Taker waits and Roman finally comes out onto the entryway ramp. He locks eyes with the Phenom and the man he tossed from the Rumble back in January. Reigns takes longer to get to the ring then Taker does! Reigns says Braun didn’t call Taker out, he called Roman out. Reigns says this is his yard now. Taker looks to the ‘Mania sign as a massive “Roman sucks” chant takes root in the Chicago arena and Taker closes out Raw by delivering an earth-shattering chokeslam on Reigns! To quote the late Paul Bearer, “OH YEEEEEES!”
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