I officially enter my name into the Royal Rumble. If that’s how it is done, then I’m in.
RAW was a weird show tonight. Matches were pretty good, some surprises. But the storyline aspect and finishes to some segments and matches didn’t have the right feel, as though it did not come off as fluid, just abrupt. In any case, on with the recap.
The show begins with a tribute photo to Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, and then a video package in tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. Wow. Every time, WWE just knocks it out of the park. They really do cut the best promos on television.
The crowd cheers turn to boos as Roman Reigns comes out and tries talking tough, but just sounds like an idiot. Relief hits as The Rabbi Paul Heyman teases Brock Lesnar, but is interrupted by Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, who are then interrupted by Seth Rollins, and lastly Braun Strowman. Suddenly, Brock’s theme hits again, and the Beast tromps down, and Sami Zayn, from nowhere, attacks Strowman, setting off the inevitable brawl which sees Brock maul everyone, and have a tense staredown with Braun Strowman. Very good tease with the big man.
Best moment, as Brock clears the ring, he stares down Sami Zayn, who is hurled across the ring via German Suplex.
Enzo and Big Cass defeat Jinder Mahal and Rusev w/Lana
The real winner is Mahal. The guy went from obscurity to getting a big feud alongside Rusev. Not sure if this feud is over, or whether this will continue to the Rumble.
Ariya Davari defeats Lince Dorado
This was obvious, as Jack Gallagher joins Austin Aries on commentary, hyping up the “I Forfeit” match on 205Live.
Sasha Banks is attacked by Nia Jax during a training session. Yeah, OK.
In a great match, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows defeat Sheamus and Cesaro by disqualification. Really good match, the Club members dominated most of it, but some real high quality defense from the champs made it entertaining. Interesting moment of conclusion, Sheamus accidentally punches out the ref, while Gallows and Anderson hit the Magic Killer for the pinfall. A second ref rushes down, hitting the three count, but the original ref overturns it and rules the match a DQ. A close one for the champs, and likely to have a rematch.
We get a very nice video package featuring the career of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. Very well done.
For the love of… Another Emmalina promo? This is beyond bad. This has to be a running gag by now.
Rich Swann vs. Tony Nese does not happen as Neville runs down to attack the Cruiserweight Champion, but Swann doesn’t take it anymore and fights them off. Build is really good here, looking forward to their match at the Rumble.
The New Day address the Royal Rumble, until Titus O’Neil continues his insanity. This is bad comedy. Even for Titus. He challenges a member for a spot in the Rumble and in the New Day stable… Sigh. Despite this lesson in burial, Titus and Big E. have a really good match, which would have been better if the lame story was left out of it. Big E. wins. Titus wonders what he did to piss WWE off.
Backstage, Sami Zayn is a chatterbox with Rollins and Reigns. Weird. He tries doing the Shield fist-bump and a disgusted Rollins and Reigns walk off. That was really weird.
The next segment features Charlotte making fun of Bayley which shows old scrap photos and poems and old old stuff from when Bayley was a kid, and showed off how she is a glorified fan who wanted to be a wrestler… Uh… isn’t that the origin of half the roster? In any case, the shtick gets old, Bayley comes out, rhymes a bunch and Charlotte runs off. Eh. Not bad. Not great, but it did get the crowd behind Bayley.
Look, she is what we all are. She grew up watching and getting to meet wrestlers. It’s what we all do. The inner fan can relate to her, which is what makes Bayley so popular in the first place. This should be appreciated, which is why having Charlotte belittle it keeps her as an evil witch and Bayley the hopeful hero.
Backstage, Jericho and Owens try having a pep talk, but Braun just wants to devour everyone and win the Universal Championship.
Cedric Alexander defeats Brian Kendrick
Short match, but good match. That Lumbar Check. Kendrick sold it like it shattered his spine. This one had some shtick, Alicia Fox ran out to help Cedric, but after the match Cedric walked away from her. Backstage, she flips out on backstage interview guy #2.
KURT ANGLE IS GOING INTO THE HALL OF FAME
It’s true, it’s true. His career ended too quickly, damn shame his career faded out in a struggling promotion. Finally, he will be coming back where he belongs.
Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens, and Chris Jericho defeat Sami Zayn, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins
Nice main event to close the show. My pick for MVP is Braun Strowman. No, not Sami Zayn for his high-flying antics, and not Roman Reigns for taking the spot-driven beating, but Strowman for doing his job and being an indestructible big man. Blocking a superman punch, allowing Kevin Owens to crack Reigns in the face with a superkick. Very little slow-down, pace was kept a bit faster, my guess, keeping the fans alive. I’m sure Reigns dominating for more than three minutes kills a crowd and invites a chorus of booing. Nice exchange towards the end, Strowman taking a beating, lots of dives, but Strowman flattened Zayn with the running powerslam for the win. After the match, Zayn and Strowman head to the announce area, but Zayn is saved by Rollins, waffling Strowman with a chair, and then Reigns takes him down with a big spear. As Rollins and Reigns go for a table bomb, Jericho and Owens beat down the Shield duo with chairs. In the end, Owens powerbombs Reigns through the announce table to close the show.
Very well done. That brawl went on for a while, with no announce team. Gave it a better dramatic feel to it.
Nice way to end the show, Universal Champion on top, and just carnage all over the place.