Monday Night RAW is Diamonds…and BRAUN

RAW

During the show, we get SmackDown promos showing Randy Orton bowing to WWE Champion Bray Wyatt, giving up his WrestleMania championship match. Daniel Bryan announced on Talking Smack, a Battle Royale to determine a new number one contender. On the one hand, I don’t mind, but on the other, I feel it might have hurt the purpose of the Royal Rumble. Yes, Orton winning was good, because it meant Roman Reigns lost. Which is very good. But now that Orton is out? Feels a bit of a let-down, but this could lead to a very interesting main event we don’t expect.

Wow. Kevin Owens got the crowd to boo him. Amazing. The show begins with a recap of Owens turning on Chris Jericho. He sits, alone in the ring, chair reverses, wearing a suit, spotlight solely on him. Cuts a great promo, running down Goldberg, or, Bill, as the champ prefers to call him. He is about to discuss Jericho, when he decides to drop the mic and leave. Gorgeous.

Tonight, Big Show vs. Braun Strowman. Why do I have a feeling this one will end with a top rope superplex breaking the ring? It’s been a few years since that spot.

Enzo and Cass defeat Cesaro and Sheamus to become number one contenders to the RAW Tag Team Championships. Good match, some moments seemed awkward, but overall good. Shame to see Cesaro and Sheamus get thrown on the back burner temporarily.

Backstage: Mick Foley tells Owens he can’t leave, he has a match with Sami Zayn. Owens wonders if Foley prefers having more wrestlers on the injured list than in the locker room.

Promo for Bayley winning the Women’s Championship. Some spotlight on the interference from Sasha Banks, slightly tarnishing Bayley’s win last week, despite the interference equalizing the attack from Dana Brooke.

Brian Kendrick vs. Akira Tozawa doesn’t start, as we recap last week’s 205 Live, where Tozawa does not appreciate Kendrick’s manipulation. Kendrick beats up Tozawa and leaves. Feud!

Anderson and Gallows defeat Roman Reigns by DQ

Meh match. Things break down fast, the champs introduce a chair, which Reigns gets a hold of and goes nuts. Bleh.

So far tonight’s show feels like a rush for Fastlane. Lots of matches and segments, all with cliffhanger-like drops to set up conclusions for the next PPV and forthcoming to WrestleMania.

The New Day announce via TMZ they are the hosts for WrestleMania. Does this mean no match? Aw man. The do cut a funny pre-match promo about recovering the top-secret plans for the New Day Ice Cream Machine, but find out that Lana got the plans. You know, she’s Russian.

The New Day defeats “Handsome” Rusev and Jinder Mahal

Kofi and Big E. win the match, while a well-timed toot from the trumpet shocks Lana into losing her iPad, which Xavier destroys. Kofi takes a nasty fall on his neck during a dive to the floor. I have to say, Rusev and be entertaining.

Tribute to George the Animal Steele. Geez, I’m gonna cry.

Jack Gallagher and Neville do a contract signing. Gallagher is so good. The signing breaks down of course, and the Gentleman gains the upper hand with an umbrella assist. Love it.

Nia Jax destroys someone. She wants a title match.

Bayley comes out to address the crowd, but is interrupted by Stephanie McMahon who tries to convince her giving up the title is the honorable thing to do. After a long one-sided discussion, Sasha Banks then comes out to back up Bayley, although Stephanie tries to turn it into a vote of no-confidence. The ploy does not work, and Bayley doesn’t cave in. Charlotte then interrupts and we get a match between Charlotte and Banks. Great match, with Banks getting the win after the slowest run-in by Dana Brooke, thwarted by Bayley.

Diamond Dallas Page is the next inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Kevin Owens defeats Sami Zayn

This wasn’t a match. Samoa Joe interferes and destroys Zayn. Following the onslaught, Zayn still gets in the ring, and it is a short tale of woe as Owens mauls him.

Backstage: Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon have a war of words, Foley’s anger towards the McMahon and Steph has enough of disobedience. Following the spat, Stephanie warns Foley “not to have an accident.”

Please, please, I do not want to see another limo explode…

Small bump for the passing of Ivan Koloff. No promo package showing his win over Bruno Sammartino??? That’s a real tragedy.

Pre-taped interview: Paul Heyman does all the talking for Brock Lesnar, the latter staring into the camera while his advocate talks. Nothing special, but once again, Heyman can work a feud all on his own.

Braun Strowman defeated The Big Show

We knew this was the result, but DAMN how that match played out was incredible. Big Show gets a big A+ for his part in the story. That turnbuckle spot, I was sure we were getting the collapsing ring. Early on, Strowman does a freaking Kip-Up. You hear the crowd shout “WHOA!” Hell, I shouted it too. The finish might not have been exactly how it was intended, but damn, Show and Strowman get massive praise. What I am sure many thought was going to be a sluggish brawl, turned out to be a damn match.

Post-match, Roman Reigns ruins everything, and appears to get hurt, for real. Strowman concludes RAW by owning everyone.