After a brief recap of Triple H’s beatdown of Seth Rollins from last week’s RAW we head to Mick Foley coming down to the ring this week. Foley, while reading off of index cards, apologises for attacking Triple H and his words to Stephanie McMahon and takes a “leave of absence.”
Mick then rips up his cards and goes off on Stephanie until she eventually comes down. Stephanie runs down Foley as she is want to do and pulls out her best Vince impression to fire Mick.
Luckily Sami Zayn comes down to defend Mick, tell off Stephanie, and generally make this segment a little more interesting. Stephanie begins to run down Sami, who doesn’t back down until Samoa Joe begins to come down. Stephanie makes a match between Joe and Sami for right now. This wasn’t the best segment in the world, I am personally sick and tired of the heel authority figure stories, but it was really helped by a hot crowd.
Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe
This match started during the commercial break, and saw Joe largely in control. As of writing I haven’t seen their recent PPV outing, but the NXT matches between these two men never really did much for me and this was more of the same. The match told a simple, effective story in Joe bullying Sami who refuses to give in until getting caught in the Coquina Clutch, but it was obviously nothing special. I appreciate the continued push of Joe as the absolute destroyer. Samoa Joe submits Sami Zayn ** ¾
After a commercial break we head to the back where Mick is thanking Sami Zayn for standing up for him. On his way out he also runs into Sheamus and Cesaro who also thank him for putting them together. After a quick interaction with the Cruiserweights, where he clearly has no idea who any of them are, and a hug from Bayley Mick runs into Triple H who tells him to “Have a Nice Day!” Again, I haven’t liked the Foley/McMahon story but this was a nice send off at least.
We then get a medical update on Seth Rollins, who will not be medically cleared for Wrestlemania in fear of rehurting his knee.
Charlotte Flair vs. Dana Brooke
The entire Charlotte/Dana storyline has been weirdly handled and rushed. In fact, the entire RAW Women’s Division has been weirdly handled so far. While the matches have been good to great, the focus on two women “breaking down barriers” instead of having an intense feud or even giving some of the other women not in the title picture something to do has been incredibly annoying.
Anywho, this was a complete nothing match that was a little awkward at times. Charlotte pins Dana with a Big Boot **
Stephanie meets with Bayley backstage. Bayley talks about how she used to look up to Stephanie growing up but since she has come to RAW she has changed her opinion on Stephanie. Stephanie tells Bayley that she is going to have to earn her spot from now on, starting with a NoDQ match against Nia Jax tonight where if Nia wins she will be added to the Wrestlemania title match. Bayley and Nia had a very good match on NXT Takeover a while ago so I have high hopes for this match.
Next up is the Highlight Reel with special guest “The Real” Kevin Owens. Jericho shows pictures of Kevin Owens as a kid wearing a Y2J shirt and even texts from Owens when he first got signed asking Jericho for advice.
Jericho continues to talk about how he is Kevin’s hero and idol and how at Wrestlemania Owens will go back to being the nerd in his mom’s basement who idolises Chris Jericho. Chris then teases putting Owens on the list until Samoa Joe comes out to distract Chris and Kevin attacks him from behind. I was already a fan of this angle but I really like this new wrinkle and hope it continues.
TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick
One of the worst things about the mishandling of the Cruiserweight Division, in my opinion, has been taking TJ Perkins from a guy that looked like one of the best in the world and turning him into a guy that loses in less than two minutes. What a waste of talent. Kendrick pins Perkins with Sliced Bread #2 DUD
Kendrick gets on the mic and asks where Akira Tozawa is. He then talks about how Tozawa isn’t in the country because Kendrick has his passport. The crowd couldn’t give two shits about anything that just happened and I honestly don’t blame them because it was garbage. Absolute garbage.
We get a pretty damn good video package running down the Brock/Goldberg angle featuring a sit down interview with Goldberg.
After that Stephanie meets with Sheamus and Cesaro backstage, and tells them they have to defend their Wrestlemania spot against Gallows and Anderson and Enzo and Big Cass. I appreciate one of the throughlines of this show being Stephanie punishing everyone that Foley helped, but that’s largely because I enjoy when shows have a storyline running from the beginning of the show until the end.
Bayley vs. Nia Jax (NoDQ, if Nia Jax wins she will enter the Wrestlemania Women’s Title Match)
This match felt very much like the Samoa Joe/Sami Zayn match from earlier in the show. Unfortunately they did next to nothing with the NoDQ stipulation. On the Brightside, Nia Jax being added to the Wrestlemania title match is something different for the division. Nia Jax pins Bayley with a Samoan Drop ** ½
We get a video package for Mae Young and Women’s History Month.
Next Michael Cole is in the ring for an interview with Triple H. Hunter talks about how it isn’t his fault that Seth Rollins might miss Wrestlemania again, it’s Seth’s fault for getting addicted to the applause from the crowd. He talks about how Seth shouldn’t have forgone his own health to attack Triple H and everything that happened to Rollins was his own fault. Triple H keeps going on and on for a solid five minutes and then decides that if Rollins can make it to RAW next week and sign a contract for a non-sanctioned match at Wrestlemania he can have it. What was interesting here was that Triple H talked about how Rollins’ mistake was trying to get the cheers from the crowd but then tried to get the cheers himself. Clearly Hunter wants the match against Rollins and is doing everything he can to goad him into it.
Cesaro and Sheamus vs. Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Enzo Amore, and Big Cass (2-On-4 Handicap)
Anderson and Gallows attack their partners before the bell rings, because obviously they would, and get pinned almost immediately. Another waste of time. Cesaro pins Karl Anderson DUD
The New Day are backstage, and after a quick reference to the controversy from earlier this week, they run down the Wrestlemania card. I really don’t know what is next for New Day, they have really been treading water since they lost the tag titles and if we’re honest for the end of their title reign.
Austin Aries vs. Tony Nese
God bless Aries because he worked hard and really tried to get the crowd involved, but it’s clear that they don’t care at all about the Cruiserweight division. This was a fine short little match and Aries looked good ahead of his big title match. Aries pins Nese with the Discuss 5-Arm **
After the match Neville comes out and runs down Aries. The two banter back and forth and the segment just kind of ends. Bleh.
Next we get part 2 of the Goldberg/Brock video package, this time with interviews from Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Braun has really developed into a fun big man wrestler, with his match with Big Show from a few weeks ago being a legit 4* affair. Man 2017 is weird already.
This wasn’t quite on the level of that match as Braun went back to using a lot of boring rest holds and Roman didn’t do anything much to up the pace. That said, the finishing stretch leading into the appearance by The Undertaker was exciting as hell. No Contest ** ¾
Reigns and Undertaker stare each other down until ‘Taker hits Strowman with a chokeslam and gets hit by a spear from Reigns.
Overall this was an average episode of RAW, nothing really stood out as exceptional nor was anything really offensively bad. On the one hand, there were a few nice stories throughout the show, but the show is so weirdly paced that by the end I just don’t care about any of it.