WWE RAW is What We Expected

RAWSome pre-show notes:

Jack Swagger was let go.

The camera work seemed pretty shoddy early on in the show

Yes, The Undertaker will face Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. Sigh.

I don’t remember Jinder Mahal ever being cheered, until tonight.

Tonight’s RAW shows us why dirtsheets hurt television. Tonight’s RAW confirmed every rumor read on the internet in the past five days, and yes, it hurts the viewer. Because of the overflow of information, there was nothing surprising about anything which happened tonight, except for Jinder Mahal getting a huge pop.

RAW kicks off with Rabbi Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar.

Heyman as always, takes 100% control while Brock does his happy dance. I want to care about this, because Heyman at least appears to be putting in all the effort Brock isn’t. It is a good promo, even calls out the crowd on their incessant chants.

Sasha Banks defeated Dana Brooke

Post match, Charlotte berates Brooke for the 1000th time, and Brooke snaps, beating up Charlotte. Nothing eventful here. We will probably forget this happened when Brooke comes back to help Charlotte win again.

Backstage, Stephanie tries to mend with Mick Foley in some sort of comedy, who ends up asking Foley to fire someone from the roster tonight. I guess this is going to be the running story throughout the night.

The cruiserweights are in action tonight, announced, a five-way match on 205Live to determine who will face Neville at WrestleMania. Bummer, I had hope for some crazy ladder match.

The Warrior Award is announced, going to Eric LeGrand. WWE put together a very touching video package. Very well done.

Back in the ring, Kevin Owens with his own spotlight, and I love how he does this every week. Talks about how he outsmarted Chris Jericho and everyone else. Very smart promo, pretty much saying what we all saw, how Jericho was constantly suggesting a WWE Universal Match at WrestleMania, but now the fans seem to have forgotten about that. True story. He brings out his partner tonight, Samoa Joe.

Sami Zayn and Chris Jericho defeated Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens by DQ

Not much happened, mostly a brawl, until Jericho gets clocked to the floor, while the big bruisers beat the hell out of Zayn. Ref has enough, calling for the bell. I love seeing Owens and Joe together. There is your 2017 Tag Team of the Year.

Backstage or pre-taped, I’m not sure. The New Day has a hilarious segment, introducing their talk show, having the Big Show as their first guest. You can tell he’s having fun as New Day constantly interrupt with plugs and change topics. Funniest moment, after Titus O’Neal crashes the party and pissed off Show, we see all three members of New Day cautiously eating popcorn. Priceless.

Big Show is entering the annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

Cesaro/Sheamus vs. Enzo/Big Cass goes to a no contest

After Gallows and Anderson blindside both teams, we get a stupid backstage shtick of “well gawrsh, if the match ended in disqualification we got no gosh darn opponents!” Yeah, so an irate Mick Foley just books the triple threat for the RAW Tag Team Championships we all knew was going to happen. Really, they still do the whole lame triple threat set up?

Roman Reigns defeats Jinder Mahal

Mahal should remember this night, probably the loudest crowd pop he has ever received. Thanks to an interrupting gong, he gets some good offense in, but ultimately Reigns wins.

Then… a Wild Shawn Michaels appears!

Not wild, but one with warning. Warning Reigns not too take the Undertaker lightly. Reigns, turning into some sort of heel-mode, does not seem to take kindly to HBK, and at one point, reminding Mr. WrestleMania it was the Deadman who retired him, then Reigns says he will retire the dead man. For once, I think Reigns cut a decent promo. What killed the drama of the segment was playing Reigns theme as he stormed off. I feel it would have upped the drama if they just left him, storming away, all quiet.

But wait! There’s more!

As Reigns leaves, Braun Strowman mows down Reigns, who takes the bump a bit too hard and winds  up jammed between the entrance ramp and the crowd barrier. Ouch.

Austin Aries defeated Davari

Good match. Really good match. Lots of hype for the cruiserweight contender’s match. Not sure if Aries should stay on the 205Live roster of if he should return to NXT.

 

Big Show squashes Titus O’Neal

That’s all I have to say about that.

Backstage: Jericho makes fun of new backstage interviewer, Mike Romo, confusing him with Tom Phillips, and announces next week on The Highlight Reel, the guest will be “The Real” Kevin Owens.

Bayley defeats Nia Jax via DQ

Mostly a squash, but Jax gets a bit vicious, and winds up DQ’ed. Post-match, Jax just beats up Bayley even more.

Final Segment of the night:

Mick Foley announces he wants to fire Stephanie. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen. Triple H comes out as Foley runs down Stephanie. Triple H takes a shot at Foley’s hip which needs replacement surgery. Foley and Triple H have a very heated war of words. Oh, so good. Triple H gets super nasty with Foley, until the Hardcore Icon loses it, and shoved Mr. Socko down his throat. Stephanie McMahon hits a low blow, but before Triple H can inflict more pain, Seth Rollins arrives and chucks his crutch, showing us all that he is A-O-K. The fight ensues, but unfortunately, the Game gets his hands on the discarded crutch, using it and gaining a momentary victory over Rollins, as RAW goes off the air.

No, no Finn Balor tonight.

Sorry.