RAW is BIG

RAW kicks off live from Cleveland, Ohio. We get a flashback to Chris Jericho pinning Roman Reigns in the handicap match to win the United States Championship. It’s the best friends forever, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho running Monday Night RAW.

The show begins with a mix of cheers and boos for Roman Reigns. Reigns is looking forward to Jericho being locked in the shark cage, and watches as he becomes the new WWE Universal Champion. This brings out the Universal and United States Champions to retort. In a smart promo, Owens runs off the list of who Reigns powerbombed through the announce table, but then says he is the “one” who powerbombed Reigns. Jericho then offers one reason why Owens will retain, because Reigns is a “stupid idiot.”

Jericho continues the humor through the rest of his promo. It’s pretty obvious the crowd enjoys the antics from the titleholders more than the repetitive clichés from Reigns. He even brings back the whole “I’m the guy” crap. Ugh. Reigns needs better mic skills. I am genuinely surprised how many people are cheering for Reigns tonight.

Announced for the Royal Rumble pre-show, RAW Tag Team Championship match, Cesaro/Sheamus will defend against Gallows/Anderson, and the stipulation, there will be two referees calling the match. Tonight Luke Gallows defeats Cesaro in a singles match, even though throughout the match there were a number of interference attempts, just so the announce team can say “that’s why we need two refs on Sunday” to justify all the brawling.

Backstage, Mick Foley is on the phone with Stephanie McMahon about tonight’s main event. Sami Zayn, continuing some sort of comedy persona asks Mick if there is any “clerical paperwork” to fill out to announce his entry into the Rumble. Well, Mick was going to just add him in, but Steph wants Zayn to face Seth Rollins for entry.

Wait wait wait. So some people can just go into the ring and SAY they are in the Rumble, others have to fill out a stack of forms, or others have to qualify. So, if I want to enter the Royal Rumble, which option do I get??

On commercial “Like, oh my god, I got the worst email ever…” and a pouty face from Nikki Bella is the hype for tonight’s disaster of Total Divas. How has this show not been canceled yet?

In a pre-recorded interview, Corey Graves interviews Bayley, who talks about her love of wrestling, and being humble and appreciating everything she has. I love her and her way of putting over why being a fan with a dream is important. Charlotte belittles that. Bayley says being a fan and her being a fan watching her favorite wrestlers inspire her to become a WWE wrestler. It’s fantastic promo work.

Backstage, Mick Foley informs Rollins by order of Stephanie, if he loses, he loses his Rumble spot.

We get a tremendous match, which sees Sami Zayn defeating Seth Rollins. Lots of insane moves and bumps. We got a tease for a top rope pedigree. Zayn hit Rollins with everything. The storytelling was impeccable. The finish, we thought, was Seth Rollins hitting a pedigree on the ring apron. Holy Shit chant deserved. The surprise, is when the theme for Triple H hit, which distracted Rollins long enough for Zayn to roll him up with a small package for the win.

Backstage, a livid Rollins wants answers, Mick Foley will find them.

In cruiserweight competition, Jack Gallagher, TJ Perkins, and Mustafa Ali defeated Ariya Davari, Tony Nese, and Drew Gulak.  Short match, some good spots, but this one was all about highlighting Mustafa. Guess he will be the next “flavor of the month” once Rich Swann drops the title.

Funny segment with New Day, Enzo, and Cass is interrupted by “Handsome” Rusev and Jinder Mahal, and that collective banter is interrupted by Titus O’Neal. Well, I was convince they would all gang up on him at some point but this week he wasn’t the one squashed. Instead, he introduces the next match, and eight-man tag, where New Day and Enzo/Cass face off with Rusev, Mahal, Titus, and… Braun Strowman. Pretty good match, ends with Enzo and Strowman, and the big man powerslamming his way to victory. Post-match, THE BIG SHOW comes back and stares down Braun, literally, as the former Wyatt Family member is looking up.

Big Show looked GOOD. Definitely lost weight, in great shape. Good for Show. Seriously, this is a big plus. He looks like a real “big man” here, not just a large overweight giant.

Roman Reigns defeats Chris Jericho by DQ

Well, had to see something like this coming. Decent match, ends when Reigns is about to win, but Owens rushes the ring causing the match to end. Post match, Reigns manages to lock Owens in the shark cage.

The best part of the match, has to be Kevin Owens on commentary. His banter with Byron Saxton is a ballet of awesome.

Pre-taped interview, Corey Graves talks to Charlotte who comes off aggressive and defensive.

Nia Jax destroys some local whatever – Match lasted all of a minute. She did the Yokozuna crush for the win. Post match, she makes fun of Sasha Banks,  who comes out to confront Jax. Banks turns out to be healthy and is outsmarted by Banks.

Rich Swann defeated Noam Dar – Good match, but overshadowed by the ongoing saga between Cedric Alexander and Alicia Fox.

We also learn Sasha Banks will face Nia Jax on the Royal Rumble pre-show as well.

The final segment takes a few minutes to get on as Goldberg hits the ring, and the crowd chants drown out his theme. He also headbutts a door and busts himself open. He also seems to flub some lines. But he jokes about it.

Suddenly, Rabbi Paul Heyman interrupts, and there are two Jews on television. But really, Heyman carves a piece of art in verbal form, wondering some interesting possibilities, involving Goldberg against Randy Orton, or Braun Strowman. However Heyman then introduces yet another possibility… Brock Lesnar!

Lesnar enters the ring, staring down Goldberg until the lights go out and…

 

… A gong sounds. The lights go on.

 

THE UNDERTAKER is standing in the ring between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar to close the show.

Damn. That was a hell of a finish.