Monday Night Raw – February 29, 2016: We Waited 23 Years For This

Monday Night Raw
Date: February 29, 2016
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Byron Saxton

It’s the first Raw ever on February 29 and the big story would seem to be Undertaker showing up to address his match with Shane McMahon. Other than that we should get more between HHH and Roman Reigns, assuming Reigns is back from his nose injury at HHH’s hands last week. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of HHH beating Reigns down last week to end the show.

Opening sequence.

Here’s HHH to get things going. HHH talks about how only a handful of us actually have any authority and the rest of us all have an authority figure in their lives. Every single one of us hate it (much like opening Raw with a long promo that isn’t likely to lead anywhere) and want to fight back but we’re all afraid. That fear keeps everything in line but people like Reigns decided to not listen to that fear.

Now Reigns is sitting at home breathing through his mouth and hoping he can still go to Wrestlemania. Cue Ambrose to a nice reaction from the fans as things slow down. Dean just got off the phone with Reigns, who says hi but he’s also coming for HHH. They make some Oscar references to recap Ambrose challenging Lesnar last week and Shane having to fight Undertaker at Wrestlemania.

Ambrose asks who HHH wanted to win the match at Fastlane but the champ brushes it off by saying Dean wasn’t a factor in that match. Dean gets right in HHH’s face and says he’s the last person HHH wants to face at Wrestlemania. The boss finally gets that Dean really is crazy but Ambrose can see it in him: HHH is scared.

HHH thinks that’s the smell of clean clothes and power that Dean isn’t familiar with, which draws a YOU CAN’T BEAT HIM chant. Dean gets right to the point and asks for a title shot but HHH says that shouting RIGHT NOW doesn’t earn you a title shot. He’ll give Dean an answer at the end of the night (with Dean clarifying that HHH means by the end of the show) but first of all, Dean has to fight Alberto Del Rio.

Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks

The winner gets Charlotte (at ringside with Ric Flair) for the title at Wrestlemania. Just get to the double pin now. They start fast with some pinfall reversal sequences and get some near falls each. Neither submission works and we’ve got a stalemate as both of them are trying for their Wrestlemania moment. Not the title or anything, but a Wrestlemania moment.

Becky is sent outside and taken down with a baseball slide, allowing Sasha to send her into the post as we take a break. Back with Sasha driving two knees into Becky’s chest for another near fall as JBL keeps up the line of it all being about going to Wrestlemania. Becky grabs an exploder suplex and stops a charge with a boot to the face. A missile dropkick gets two for Lynch but Sasha is up first and heads up top. Becky is right there though and tries a superplex, only to get countered into a sunset flip. Sasha lays back for no apparent reason and it’s a double pin at 9:54.

Rating: C+. This was much more like the NXT format for a women’s match and it was better as a result. Instead of having them sit around and do chinlocks for three minutes, these two were actually telling a story and making things work far better. The ending was predictable but I’d rather have all three of them in the match instead of just Sasha.

We don’t have a winner and Charlotte is happy.

The Wyatts come on screen with Bray talking about insanity meaning to try something more than once and expecting different results. Well maybe he’s insane then because he wants to save us all. He had an idea which is turning into a plan and can be used to save us all. Run.

Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz

This is over an argument on the pre-show last week over Ziggler asking what Miz has done lately. Let me repeat that. DOLPH ZIGGLER is asking what someone has done lately. Ziggler starts punching away in the corner but gets whipped hard into the corner to set up a rollup…..for the pin at 1:05. Well that’s surprising. Nice but surprising.

Long recap of last week’s opening segment with Shane McMahon returning.

Here’s Stephanie for her acceptance speech for the Vincent J. McMahon Award. We get some classic heel tactics as she asks for the respect that she deserves during her speech. The fans chant for Shane but apparently he’s not here tonight, just like he won’t be here after Wrestlemania. Stephanie holds the trophy like a baby and talks about all the sacrifices she makes, only to be greeted with more WE WANT SHANE chants.

She turns the podium over and goes on a rant about how horrible Shane is and what it means that people cheer for him. Stephanie goes on about how Shane has been gone for years, which proves how little he cares about this whole place. This is a speech you could have said about the Rock before he returned in 2011 with some of the exact same lines.

Apparently it eats Shane alive that Stephanie and Hunter are married and that she has so much power. Shane’s kids can be in charge later on but they’ll have to fight to earn that power. She hits the screeching voice and talks about how we all need to show her respect and bow down to the queen before leaving. To recap: no Shane, no interruption and no one getting anything in on Stephanie as she hypes up…..herself. Oh yeah everything is normal again.

Lucha Dragons vs. Rusev/Sheamus

Of course this is still going. JBL: “The League is like the Four Horsemen. They just need a JJ Dillon.” Cara sunset flips Sheamus for two to start but charges into an Irish Curse. Rusev comes in to crush Cara’s head before Sheamus comes back in for an armbar. I’m not sure on having a power guy like Sheamus using an arm hold. That doesn’t feel right.

Cara comes back with a tornado DDT and the hot tag brings in Kalisto to clean house with his bouncing offense. The hurricanrana driver (minus most of the drive) gets two on Rusev and Cara dives onto Barrett. That earns Cara a Brogue Kick though and Kalisto takes Sheamus down with a flip dive. Back in and Rusev kicks Kalisto in the head for the pin at 5:05.

Rating: D+. You can’t make this stuff up. I mean, as soon as the Dragons came out you knew Kalisto was going to take the pin if his team lost because we need to protect SIN CARA for some reason. I’m really not sure what we’re going with the League as they’re just floating, so yeah of course let one of them pin the US Champion.

Del Rio gives Kalisto the top rope double stomp post match.

Immediately after the match, Cole: “Of course Total Divas airs every Tuesday night on E!” I’m glad they’re not even bothering to hide the fact that the show is more important than the US Title.

Renee Young and Natalya do a commercial for Subway. Eh it’s a big check for WWE for thirty seconds of Raw. It’s hard to complain about something like that.

We recap the opening segment.

Ryback vs. Adam Rose

Before the match, Ryback talks about wanting the spotlight and promises to take it for himself. Ryback throws him around the ring to start but Rose gets in a running kick to the chest for two. Normally I would say there’s no way WWE is going to have Ryback lose a week after a heel turn but you never can tell these days. The Backpack Stunner breaks up a chinlock and Ryback pounds away on the mat until Rose is out cold. The Shell Shock is good for the pin at 2:04.

We recap Brock’s antics last week, including laying out Ambrose and accepting his challenge for Wrestlemania.

New Day vs. AJ Styles/Chris Jericho

Non-title. After a break, New Day says they’re the greatest three man team of all time and will fight anyone who disagrees. They aren’t a loose collection of talents like the League of Nations and are better than any great team like Sonic and Tails, Snoop and Dr. Dre, Edge and Christian or Cheerios and milk. Jericho and Kofi get things going with Chris nailing a nice dropkick. Stereo dives to the champs take us to a break.

Back with Styles in trouble and taking the Unicorn Stampede thanks to some Woods interference. AJ gets dropped onto the barricade and Kofi pulls out a card to show that he has AJ’s number. Back in and the Pele drops Kofi long enough for the hot tag to bring in Jericho. Everything breaks down with Jericho destroying the champs but having to kick out of a rollup. The Lionsault gets two on Kofi with Big E. making the save, only to get taken down by the springboard forearm. Trouble in Paradise is countered into the Walls of Jericho to make Kofi tag at 8:59.

Rating: C. It’s been a bad night for champions. I’m so glad they’re putting Jericho and AJ together for a title program because having AJ face, say, Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Title at Wrestlemania and letting them go nuts for fifteen minutes would just be a disaster. Normally I would complain about Jericho and Styles winning like two matches and suddenly being a top team, but that’s the extent of the division these days so it’s not the biggest problem.

Post match Jericho and Styles say they’re officially a thing and want a title shot next week on Raw.

Here’s Vince for a chat before Undertaker comes out. Vince talks about how the stars would have to align to have Shane come out here in charge on Raw the night after Wrestlemania. None of that is going to happen though because only fools believe in miracles. Vince introduces Undertaker and after three more Wrestlemanias have passed, he finally gets down to the ring.

Vince talks about how Undertaker is his destroyer but Undertaker grabs him by the throat. Once that door closes, Shane’s blood is going to be on Vince’s hands, not Undertaker’s. That’s it, after Undertaker might have been in the ring for ninety seconds. Vince isn’t done yet though, as he says Shane has lost his inheritance and is out of his will. All of Vince’s money is now going to Stephanie and Shane is no longer his son.

We look back at the Dudley Boyz beating up the Usos three weeks back.

Jey Uso vs. Bubba Ray Dudley

Jey goes right after him with right hands and drives Bubba up against the ropes for some shoulders to the ribs. A superkick puts Bubba down but D-Von pulls out a table to blast Jimmy in the face. Jey superkicks D-Von but eats a Bubba Bomb for the pin at 2:11.

Goldust comes up to R-Truth in the back but Truth cuts him off to say this isn’t happening. He doesn’t want to see what costume Goldust has or what song he has to sing because he’s done with all this. Goldust walks away sad.

Kevin Owens vs. Big Show

Non-title and a rematch from Smackdown where Owens won by countout. They’re quickly on the floor with Owens hitting a superkick, followed by a tornado DDT off the apron for nine. Show slides back in but has to kick out of the backsplash at two. Owens goes up top but gets crotched, setting up a countout to give Big Show the win at 2:36.

Brie Bella is here and talking about Bryan when Lana of all people interrupts. Lana talks about how she’s a real woman with a real figure while Brie is married to a tiny goat man. A match is actually teased.

Brie Bella vs. Naomi

I’m so glad they teased this. Brie starts in on the arm to start and works on an armbar until Tamina trips her up. Back in and a legdrop gets two for Naomi and we hit the double arm crank. The split legged moonsault misses but Naomi is able to hit the dancing kicks. She misses the big kick to the head though and Brie is able to come back with the YES Kicks. Tamina offers another distraction though and Naomi puts on a crucifix to pull back on Brie’s arms while cranking on the neck for the submission at 4:07.

Rating: D-. They’re just not very good. I really don’t know how else to put it but these women really aren’t very good. Naomi is an athletic freak with no idea how to use her athleticism and Brie…..well she’s…..there’s no other way to put it other than she isn’t a good wrestler. As in she fails at almost every aspect in the ring and it’s getting harder to sit through her matches while she sponges off Bryan’s head.

Lana comes out to shake her head at Brie.

Fabulous Freebirds Hall of Fame video.

We look back at Becky vs. Sasha from earlier.

Sasha and Becky argue in the back until Charlotte comes up to say there’s going to be a rematch on Smackdown. Charlotte makes fun of them for being so excited.

We recap Vince cutting Shane out of his will and saying he won’t be his son anymore. How many times has Vince done that over the years?

Dean Ambrose vs. Alberto Del Rio

Ambrose is all bandaged up so Del Rio sends him out to the floor and into the barricade. Back in and Alberto rams shoulders into the buckle, followed by a DDT for two. The armbreaker over the top rope cranks on the bad arm even more but Dean counters the top rope double stomp. The Backstabber sends Dean outside again and now the double stomp connects from the apron. Dean beats the count back in at nine (because of course he does) so Alberto fires off kicks to the ribs.

Dirty Deeds is broken up but Dean settles for a bulldog and missile dropkick. Back up and Ambrose goes shoulder first into the post, allowing Alberto to hit the corner enziguri. Alberto misses a charge and hits the floor, allowing Dean to dive on all four of them. The referee starts counting but here’s HHH to interrupt. The distraction lets the League sneak in for the DQ at 9:40.

Rating: D+. This was a squash with Dean getting in some hope spots near the end but you knew HHH was going to get involved somehow. I can go for the League as a bunch of goons who do HHH’s bidding instead of being a featured act. It’s a good enough idea but the difference here is there’s a reason to care about someone like Ambrose. Reigns is just a guy who happens to be there and it’s a big part of why this isn’t working.

Post match HHH says Ambrose will never beat the Authority so Dean punches him in the jaw. Ambrose gets in some shots in the corner but eats a Pedigree. HHH says the match is on and leaves, because why have the match now when your opponent is done? Ah, yes, plot convenience. Ambrose crawls over to the mic and says thanks but HHH takes the jacket off and unbuttons his sleeves. HHH comes back and throws Dean to the floor, setting up the required whip over the announcers’ table. Referees come out to break it up and one actually shouts “THIS IS UNPROFESSIONAL!” HHH leaves Dean laying to end the show.

Overall Rating: D-. Save for the last five minutes, this was a disaster. The problem here is simple: I watched last week’s show. For some reason though WWE has decided to just keep showing us the same clips over and over because that’s enough to make us keep watching. The main event scene still has the same problem: Ambrose is someone people can relate to but Reigns is someone who isn’t even on the show but we’re supposed to want to see him fight in the biggest match of the year? The title shot could change things but I’d be stunned if they actually do a title change this close to Wrestlemania.

The rest of the show was horrible though with almost no good matches and the feeling that we’re somewhere in October instead of having less than five weeks before Wrestlemania. The top three matches at Wrestlemania seem to be set in stone and if that’s the case, it’s going to be a very long night in Dallas. There’s still time to shake things up and there’s a reason to hope but good night we could be in for some trouble.

Results

Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks went to a double pin

The Miz b. Dolph Ziggler – Rollup

Rusev/Sheamus b. Lucha Dragons – Kick to Kalisto’s head

Ryback b. Adam Rose – Shell Shock

Chris Jericho/AJ Styles b. New Day – Walls of Jericho to Kingston

Bubba Ray Dudley b. Jey Uso – Bubba Bomb

Big Show b. Kevin Owens via countout

Naomi b. Brie Bella – Crucifix neck crank

Dean Ambrose b. Alberto Del Rio via DQ when the League of Nations interfered

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book of the Complete Monday Nitro Reviews Volume IV at Amazon for just $3.99 at:

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32 comments

  1. Your Eternal Reward says:

    I gave up an hour in. Recaps and more recaps. All the champions lost because champions are losers and have been for the past several years in the WWE.

  2. ted says:

    So no explanation as to why Undertaker would agree to this match? IF he’s blaming Vince that just makes Vince look stupid. Taker is aware he can just say no right? he did it to Shawn a bunch of times. This show gives me a migraine. Also Reigns is so important he’s not on the show. Can’t wait to see Ambrose get a better reaction but not get the push due to better hair or not shaking Bradshaw’s or whatever stupid reason they come up with.

    ted Reply:

    *Bradshaw’s hand*

    Jay H (the real one) Reply:

    I think you and other people are just over thinking the Undertaker/Shane stuff. Reigns wasn’t there tonight because I think that nose surgery was legitimate last week.

    Also I guess its HHH vs Dean on March 12th at the Toronto Network special.

    ted Reply:

    So you think asking for a explanation as to why something is happening is overthinking it?

    Jay H (the real one) Reply:

    What do you want Undertaker to say really? It’s Taker for crying out loud its not as if he’s going to turn down many Matches regardless of who makes them or who he goes in there with.

    ted Reply:

    In storyline “i’m not your lapdog, you don’t like your son do your own dirty work.”

    The problem is this match makes no sense. Have you really gotten to the point where you just accept everything they do? They don’t even have to justify their own narrative? On top of that, Shane has no hope of winning this.

    Wrestling is telling a story Maggle. Guess what? The story still has to make sense. It doesn’t help that this wrestlemania looks like it was written on a cocktail napkin 5 days before the show.

    Jay H (the real one) Reply:

    How exactly does it not make sense? Shane wants control so Vince is dispatching The Undertaker on him. Simple as that. I would say something is going to go down in that Match. It won’t be a straight up HIAC.

    IC Reply:

    This is pretty much spot on.
    Also, to reference what you wrote below, I think they’re still booking on the fly on a napkin as we speak, and nothing is really final until the show.
    So anyone that wants to fantasy book and guess what they’re doing now with Ambrose getting the title shot, good luck with all of that.

  3. Dragon says:

    The finish to the Becky/Sasha match was terrible, but I am looking forward to what they have planned for tag team championship at Mania……also it is about time the Freebirds are in the HOF

  4. BJ says:

    How about this scenario: Reigns cost hhh da title and Dean walks n2 wm as champion.
    Scenario a: Brock destroys Dean and walks out champion
    Scenario b: Reigns helps Dean at wm 2 retain then turns heel attacking Ambrose afterwards.
    Scenario c: fatal 4way

  5. Heyo says:

    Does it feel like the booking has gotten lazy or halfassed to you lately? It almost feels like they’ve mentally given up after Reigns got booed on the road to WM31.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Kind of yeah. More than that though is the injury bug. There’s almost no way you can get around this kind of stuff.

    Dorian Reply:

    Exactly this – there is little writers can do when all their storylines are on a surgery table.

    Dookie Blaster 4.0 Reply:

    and writers writing new stories for the dudes that are there is completely out of the question? stacked card or not, wrestlemania is still gonna get super big numbers

  6. ted says:

    Here’s a question. Stephanie McMahon is supposed to be smart with a good understanding of her family business right?

    How is it that she times and time again forgets the number one rule of being a heel? You have to show weakness. She never does. She comes down and either degrades the faces, or she gets to do her screechy heel thing with no interruption. The bad guy has to get their comeuppance and she never does.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    She’s above the rules. That’s really all there is to it.

    ted Reply:

    So what your saying is she’s doing something stupid every week and no one is going to tell her it’s stupid. This somehow makes it any less stupid?

    On top of that it’s going to end up costing money and fan interest. Who is going to watch a heel never get theirs?

    This whole people are exempt from the rules is stupid and dangerous. Not saying you Talk down to your boss. But you do mention things that are/will cause problems. If they won’t listen to you, you find someone they will listen to. Change doesn’t come from apathy.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Oh not at all. It’s still very stupid. It’s just that it’s Stephanie and she’s not going to get any serious comeuppance.

    Remember last year at Wrestlemania when Rousey bent her arm? Or when Vickie shoved her in mud or whatever it was? That’s about it for Stephanie getting anything done to her.

    I fully agree that it’s stupid but it’s one of those things that isn’t changing because she’s in charge.

  7. Greg says:

    I bet the Ambrose/HHH match is going to replace whatever they had setup for Roman for the live MSG show.

    Also, the fuck was this show. Nothing happened. Incredibly boring.

    Greg Reply:

    Also they better not do Show vs Owens at Mania. I don’t even like Owens that much but I know he deserves better. Y2AJ is such a waste of both guys.

    I might need to take a few month break after Mania. Need to wait until the injured guys come back for it to be watchable again.

    Dorian Reply:

    Y2AJ vs New Day is a waste for AJ and Jericho????If not this Jericho would be putting over guys like Fandango. And while AJ vs Owens would have been great – Owens needs to build some serious winning streak after that awful program with Ziggler. A mania match between AJ and Owens is much too soon, with a lot to loose.

    So much hate on this site.

    Greg Reply:

    It looks like Owens will face Big Show. BIG SHOW AT FREAKING WRESTLEMANIA. Not AJ, not Jericho, BIG SHOW.

    Jericho still has a big value, putting him in a tag match instead of a singles is a waste. Calling up a tag team to finally disthrone New Day would have been great. Instead they will get beat by a thrown together team that after about 3 tag matches together, beat the tag team champions.

    AJ I don’t mind as much. However if Owens is facing Big Show, then I mind a lot.

  8. james gracie says:

    Oh man how bad was that? Was the point of the opening segment just to hammer home the fact that they are pushing the wrong former Shield member? What the fuck is the point of teasing Dean with this title match when he’s not gonna win. I can’t remember a time this company was so stubborn to continue pushing a guy that the fans don’t want to see. It’s been well over a year with Reigns and the WWE is heck bent on making him THE guy. GIVE IT UP ALREADY!

    And is the end game gonna be Triple H going over everyone on the roster? Is he gonna beat down everyone every week? And is Shane/Undertaker going to be the focal point of the Wrestlemania build? If so…..LOL!!!! AND GET STEPHANIE OFF MY FUCKING TV!

    Awful show tonight. Just absolute fucking garbage from a garbage company with no direction. And I don’t wanna hear about the injuries. Boo fucking hoo. How about they: BOOK BETTER SHOWS! CREATE NEW STARS INSTEAD OF BURYING EVERYONE! STOP HAVING THE CHAMPIONS LOSE EVERY WEEK. STOP WITH THE 50/50 BOOKING! There problem solved. What a fucking joke WWE is. #VinceIsSoftAndOutOfTouch #FireStephanie #SaveUs…..SaveUs…..WhoTheFuckCanEvenSaveUsFromThisGarbage? #LOLWrestlemania #LOLDivasRevolution #OhManHowBadWasThat

  9. Dorian says:

    @Ted – every week you pull a “James Gracie” on this site. And I get it – you don’t like the current state of product. And generally when people are disillusioned they will pull apart everything. There are parts of course that even I am not happy about;; but there are still things that make me want to tune in – like Ambrose, Shane vs Undertaker is quite unique and intriguing at this point, AJ Styles….

    When was the last time when you enjoyed a full on feud; and really got into the product?

    Jay H (the real one) Reply:

    People would rather just hate watch and not see what happens.

    ted Reply:

    Or you know you could not like the current state of some stories and still like others? Are people not allowed to question the storylines? They look stupid. If the best answer you or anyone else has is let it play out. You give this company far to much credit. They Can do better and have done so. This isn’t one of those times. The company is telling fans their opinion doesn’t matter and your siding with them. This doesn’t seem odd to you?

    @Dorian

    Just a question before I get into it. Is your name a Scrubs reference? Great show.

    “@Ted – every week you pull a “James Gracie” on this site.”

    Not really. Well it is true that some of the current story lines are really stupid. I always try to be fair with my criticisms. I try to explain why I don’t like something. Instead of just writing it off as dumb for no reason. I Don’t hate something because it’s popular or troll culture. Which is more what I get from James gracie.

    “And I get it – you don’t like the current state of product.”

    Your being to broad. Yes I don’t like the Triple H and Reigns story, or the Shane, undertaker story. But I am a fan of AJ styles, the new day, Jericho, Ceasro, Kevin Owens, Stardust, Nxt and The Lesnar, Ambrose feud. I even enjoy the social outcast.

    “And generally when people are disillusined they will pull apart everything.”

    Or when you watch the show and start to ask questions. The response you get shouldn’t be. Your thinking to hard or Let it play out. Fact is the storylines on top right now are bad. They don’t need apologists. They are simply bad. Can they rebound? Of course. But watching the company fight the audience in a vain attempt to tell them what they want. Does not inspire confidence.

    There are parts of course that even I am not happy about;; but there are still things that make me want to tune in – like Ambrose, Shane vs Undertaker is quite unique and intriguing at this point, AJ Styles”…

    OK so if you enjoy the story lines then it really shouldn’t matter what I think should it? You can like them, No one is telling you that you can’t. But that doesn’t mean that everyone does.

    “When was the last time when you enjoyed a full on feud; and really got into the product?”

    The last feud I enjoyed was Owens, Cena, or Bayley, Sasha, The last Time I “enjoyed the product” Which I assume means liking a majority of their shows? Most of last year with nxt?

    You seem to be laboring under the pretense that I don’t enjoy the product at all. This is not true. Why is the internet so extreme with everything. Can it not be that I don’t enjoy one or two stories on top? Feel The wrong decisions are being made with a number of the talents? Yet still enjoy other aspects of the show? Does it have to be 100% love or hate with no middle ground?

  10. IC says:

    23 years for what exactly?
    What happened in 1993 that was referenced on the show tonight?

    Greg Reply:

    Read the first sentence of the review.

    IC Reply:

    Ohhhhhhhhhh.
    Got it.

  11. Dragon says:

    I am terrified that the Brie Bella/Lana interaction is being used to set up a Mania match just so Daniel Bryan can make an appearance in her corner…….eek!

  12. Phenom says:

    Undertaker was awesome!