by Elliot Dyson
According to comment sections, Raw has become the B-show, whether WWE like it or not, and it’s hard to disagree. However, last night’s episode left the viewers with an unexpectedly sweet taste in their mouth during this very important time of year.
In the middle of the show, Kevin Owens made his way to the ring to gripe about Chris Jericho and their fake friendship, announcing that at Wrestlemania (KO Mania 2), we’ll all witness the tears of Jericho – cry ‘em out, maaaan. He rounded out his speech by posing the question “who needs friends when you have a destroyer?” as Samoa Joe’s theme hit the air.
Joe and KO took on Jericho and Zayn in a tag match that ended too soon. Obviously, WWE can’t blow their wad before ‘Mania, as Jeri-KO squaring off is a highly anticipated match for the majority of the audience. This bout saw a couple of fun spots, the best of which being when Owens mocked Y2J’s famous strongman pin.
The affair ended in disqualification after Joe and KO couldn’t jive with the basic rules of tag team wrestling, obviously leading to a brawl in which the heels stood victorious. The two former NXT Champions definitely shared a bond, as opposed to the well-worn territory of “2 baddies who can’t get along because they’re lone wolves”, which added more weight to the rumoured new evil faction fronted by HHH.
I suppose the other story of the night was the development of “The Battle of the Goattees,” AKA Reigns Vs. The Undertaker.
Roman found himself taking on Jinder Mahal but was distracted by the familiar gong of The Deadman, allowing Mahal to get the upper hand, but such a tactic is simply not enough to keep a large doggo down. GUESS WHO WON.
After the match, Reigns called out The Undertaker, but received Shawn Michaels, much to the delight of the Detroit crowd. HBK told Roman that he needs to get his head straight if he wants to beat ‘Taker and honestly, I wish this segment ended in a training montage between the two.
Roman was playing up his arrogant, big ol’ pupper persona, declaring that he was the guy who would retire The Deadman because dogd have yards and so on. As Reigns left the ring, he was blindsided by Braun Strowman (causing “Thank you, Strowman” chants) in a moment that I would love to see encapsulated in gif form.
Also, as a side note, I noticed someone in the crowd has a sign that read “Roman Reigns likes Nickelback,” which is a shitty slam because in reality, Nickelback headline sold out arenas all over the world, just like Roman Reigns. Get a new joke.
SORRY THIS IS LONG. HERE’S THE OTHER SHIT:
– Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman kicked off the show and The Advocate said all the same stuff he’s been saying for a while now.
– Sasha Banks quickly beat Dana Brooke with a roll up (and a handful of tights). Charlotte berated Dana after the loss and Brooke turned on her mentor, ragging her around and receiving her first positive chants from the crowd ever.
– Tony Nese and Brian Kendrick beat TJ Perkins and Akira Tozawa
– The New Day hosted their new backstage talk show, “New Day Talks”, in which they shilled for the new Jetsons DVD and set up a match between The Titus Brand and The Big Show.
– Big Show beat Titus with 3 Chokeslams and a big ol’ wedgie, obviously.
– On the aforementioned talk show, Xavier Woods alluded to Big Show being in this year’s Andre the Giant Battle Royale, so innabit Shaq.
– Enzo and Big Cass’ music hitting serves as a good reminder that you have time for a quick chore before the next match begins, like making a cuppa (tea, not haters), unloading the dishwasher or reading the entirety of Crime and Punishment.
– The Club interrupted Sheamus & Cesaro and Enzo & Cass’ #1 contender match, resulting in a no contest and setting up that obvious tag title triple threat for ‘Mania (pre-show, probably).
– Austin Aries Rolling Elbowed his to a quick win over Ariya Daivari.
– Neville apparently watched all of Monday Night Raw in his trunks (despite not fighting all night), belt draped over his shoulder on an awkwardly slanted TV in the middle of the locker room.
– Corey Graves’ comment of “Are we seriously doing this again?” after the airing of an Emma vignette confirms my fears that her new gimmick is debuting gimmicks.
– Chris Jericho put “Tom Phillips” on the list when being interviewed by the other white guy with dark hair and a stubbly beard.
– Nia Jax Vs. Bayley ended in disqualification after Nia revealed herself to be just another member of the roster who doesn’t know the rules of wrestling.
Tonight’s runner was a storyline in which Stephanie demanded that Mick Foley give someone the sack before the end of the night, a task that the former Mankind found difficult considering our proximity to Wrestlemania, the biggest payday of the year. Just to rile up the Internet smarks, Stephanie suggested Sami Zayn should draw the short straw as he’s “an underperformer.”
The story culminated with an in-ring segment closing out the show – a much-maligned placement considering the focus should be on the full-time performers. Stephanie invited GM Foley to the ring to announce his choice and you kind of had to know that things weren’t gonna go to plan because the company “best wishes-ing” some lower card, “Superstars” mainstay, like Curtis Axel, wouldn’t make for a particularly compelling closer. Mick isn’t the brightest bulb, as he used his power to attempt to fire Stephanie – the only person who outranks him – leading to a shouting match between the pair before Triple H made his way to the ring to berate the General Manager. Honestly, this segment was legitimately great and featured some impassioned mic-work. Before you read on, I’d recommend taking the time to actually watch the segment. Go on. Bye.
Okay, they’re gone now. It’s just you and me, baby.
Triple H threw his status around before demanding Foley get nostalgia-poppin’ ass out of the ring. Stephanie said some usual time-filling bullshit while Mick donned Mr. Socko and hit the COO with the mandible claw, which Steph broke up with a low blow. Hunter recovered, rolled up his sleeves and made his way towards a prone Foley, though a certain architect rudely interrupted his advance. Seth Rollins limped to the ring with the aid of a crutch and stalled at the bottom of the ramp. He locked eyes with The Game for a good few seconds, slowly raised his crutch and dropped it the ground, grinning. Rollins unzipped his hoodie to reveal a shirt emblazoned with his logo and the word “KINGSLAYER” (who are probably a really sick band…). Seth charged the ring and brought the fight to Triple H, who found himself thrown to the outside of the ring. Hunter picked up the crutch and bent it around Rollins’ knee a couple of times, causing the referees to finally do their job and break up the brawl. Raw faded to black on Rollins clutching at his injured knee and Triple H standing on the apron, victorious.