Monday Night Raw
Date: February 5, 2017
Location: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
Commentators: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
It’s that time of the year when just talking about a match in about two months is a big deal. In this case that means Goldberg is back to answer Brock Lesnar’s challenge for a match at Wrestlemania XXXIII, which is likely main eventing the show in April. Other than that we might get a few more details about what’s coming up in about a month at Fastlane. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of HHH’s speech from last week about how tired he is of Seth Rollins not doing what he wanted Rollins to do. HHH blames this whole thing on Rollins getting hurt (the first time).
Stephanie McMahon and an unhappy Mick Foley are in the ring to start with Foley bringing out Samoa Joe, much to his annoyance. Joe hasn’t signed his Raw contract yet but first of all we need Stephanie to yell at Mick for not doing his job (whatever that means here). Foley doesn’t want to sign Joe, who goes on a rant about how there is nothing Foley can do to stop him.
For eighteen years Joe has been trying to get here and if one man giving him a shot means he has to hurt Rollins, so be it. Joe signs and here’s Roman Reigns to interrupt. Roman gets in Joe’s face and says that if Joe is putting Raw on notice, that means he’s putting Roman on notice. Foley immediately makes the match for tonight.
Bayley vs. Nia Jax
Bayley goes right after her to start and literally bounces off the monster. That means it’s time for the slow beating to begin, including a hard slam and a lot of shouting. Nia misses a charge into the corner though and Bayley fires off some forearms, only to get sent even harder into the corner to send us to a break.
Back with Bayley fighting out of a waistlock and forearming Nia in the jaw. Another beal into the corner sets up a running splash though and Nia mocks Bayley’s dancing. Nia turns her inside out with a clothesline but misses a charge into the post. Bayley sends her in again but here’s Charlotte for a distraction, allowing Nia to Samoan drop Bayley for the pin at 10:32.
Rating: C. I know they’re doing a very similar formula to what worked for Bayley down in NXT but that’s not going to work in such an abbreviated form, especially with so much else to focus on. Bayley hasn’t quite clicked on Raw yet but you know she’s going to get the title at some point. The question is when that’s going to be the case.
Braun Strowman vs. ???/???/???/???
It’s back to the old formula here as Strowman runs over everyone in sight, sending one of the four running up the ramp. The running powerslam plants one of them and the other two are piled on top for the pin at 1:54.
Strowman tells Foley this isn’t competition and heads to the back to find the boss. In the back, Strowman says he wants everyone so Foley gives him a match with Reigns at Fastlane.
Video on Akira Tozawa.
Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak
The announcers make sure to plug Tozawa’s resume so it’s clear he’s going to be a big deal. Some early strikes have Gulak in trouble and a backsplash (WAY too popular anymore) gets two. Gulak’s comeback goes nowhere as Tozawa kicks him to the floor for a suicide dive. A Shining Wizard sets up the snap German suplex to end Gulak at 3:40.
Rating: C. Just a squash here but it made Tozawa look like the killer he needs to be. This could be a hint that Tozawa is going to be one of the next challengers for Neville’s Cruiserweight Title and I’ve heard far worse ideas. The cruiserweights are starting to come together and that’s a good thing all around, especially if it gives us something like Tozawa vs. Neville. Gulak is fine as a punching bag but PLEASE don’t try to make him any kind of a focal point.
Post match Brian Kendrick comes out to shake Tozawa’s hand.
Here are Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho with something to say. Owens brags about retaining the Universal Title but Jericho had something more important to get to. Last night someone won a little game and that means they’ve been calling themselves the G.O.A.T. No one steals Jericho’s name so Tom Brady JUST MADE THE LIST.
With that out of the way, Jericho wants to talk about a champion vs. champion match at Wrestlemania when he challenges Owens for the Universal Title. Owens doesn’t know if he can do that but here’s Goldberg to interrupt. Goldberg gets straight to the point and accepts the match with Lesnar at Wrestlemania. Kevin likes this idea because Goldberg vs. Lesnar could be a great undercard match for KO Mania II.
That’s not quite what Goldberg meant though because Owens doesn’t have anything for Fastlane. Therefore, maybe Goldberg should get the next shot at the Universal Title. Jericho interrupts and threatens Goldberg with a spot on the list but Goldberg puts himself on it. That makes Jericho accepts the shot for Owens, who certainly isn’t pleased.
In theory this sets up Owens vs. Jericho, but at the same time it also likely means Goldberg gets the title. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he squashes Owens either, which is another great salute to someone who has spent months being awesome, only to get taken down by someone who doesn’t need the title for their Wrestlemania match.
Post break Owens isn’t happy with Jericho but Chris says he always has Kevin’s back. That’s not enough though because having his back doesn’t mean making matches for the Universal Title.
Tag Team Titles; Cesaro/Sheamus vs. Gallows and Anderson
Gallows and Anderson are defending with Enzo and Big Cass watching at ringside. Sheamus takes over on Anderson to start before Cesaro comes in with an ax handle to the shoulder. A Regal Roll into a double stomp from Cesaro gets two so the champs regroup on the floor as we take a break. Back with Sheamus fighting back and getting two off a top rope clothesline. The assisted Irish Curse gets two on Anderson but Gallows kicks Enzo in the face, drawing Cass in for the DQ at 9:00.
Rating: C-. THAT MEANS THIS FEUD GETS TO CONTINUE! WHY IS THIS FEUD CONTINUING??? I’m so sick of these teams fighting as there’s just no chemistry or charisma anywhere to be found. Maybe Enzo and Cass being added in could help things out a bit but sweet goodness this isn’t interesting so far. Fix this up already because it’s killing any show they’re on.
Black History Month video on Jackie Robinson.
We look back at Rollins being attacked last week. Rollins has a torn MCL and his Wrestlemania status is “very much in doubt”.
New Day vs. Shining Stars
Before the match, Kofi wants to know who has actually been to the Shining Stars Resort. That would be no one, because it’s not real. New Day gives people what they want, including magic, music (via Francesca II: Turbo) and cereal. Big E.: “What else can we give them? ICE CREAM???”
This is joined in progress after a break with Woods hitting a splash for two on Primo until an enziguri knocks Xavier into a Russian legsweep. We hit the chinlock for a long while, followed by a top wristlock for a change of pace. Woods fights back and gets in a missile dropkick, allowing the hot tag off to Big E. Everything breaks down and New Day cleans house, setting up the Midnight Hour for the pin at Primo at 5:48.
Rating: C. I’ve seen far worse six minute tag matches and that’s fine for a way to fill in some time on a show like this. New Day hasn’t done much of value since the title loss and I’d love to see them go somewhere. Unfortunately I’m not sure what there is for them to do other than go after singles gold.
Goldberg vs. Owens is official for Fastlane.
Jericho doesn’t think Sami Zayn can defeat him two weeks in a row. Kevin comes in to say he’ll have Jericho’s back.
The Rock N Roll Express are official for the Hall of Fame.
US Title: Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn
Sami is challenging and Owens is at ringside. Feeling out process to start with Sami grabbing a rollup for two which sends Jericho out to the floor. Back in and Sami’s high crossbody gets two on the champ but it’s way too early for the Helluva Kick. Instead Jericho bails to the floor, meaning it’s time for a big flip dive to put Chris down.
We come back from a break with Jericho getting his head taken off with a clothesline. Another Helluva Kick attempt is countered into the Walls but Sami reverses into the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. One day that’s going to win a match and the roof is going to come off the place. Sami’s tornado DDT is countered into the Walls but he’s right in front of the ropes. Owens throws in a superkick though and the Codebreaker retains the title at 9:45.
Rating: C+. This was fine though I’m glad Sami didn’t win the title. He needs to get one someday but at the moment, this was the right way to keep things going. Eventually they can pull the trigger and set up Owens vs. Jericho but they’ll probably wait until after Fastlane, which isn’t the worst idea in the world.
We look at Goldberg challenging Owens earlier tonight.
Sasha Banks is getting her knee looked at when Charlotte comes in to mock her for not even having her health. Charlotte promises to keep a seat open for Banks next week when her best friend gets a shot at the title.
Austin Aries is in the ring for an interview with Neville. With Rich Swann out with an injury, it’s time for a new #1 contender to be crowned. As luck would have it, there’s going to be a five way elimination match between Jack Gallagher, Noam Dar, Cedric Alexander, Tony Nese and TJ Perkins in a five way elimination match for the #1 contendership. Neville doesn’t care who he faces so here are all five challengers to interrupt each other while saying they’ll win. A big brawl breaks out with Neville being the last man standing, mainly because he’s one of the only ones who didn’t try a big dive.
Emmalina debuts next week.
Neville/Noam Dar/Tony Nese vs. Jack Gallagher/Cedric Alexander/TJ Perkins
Joined in progress as we come back with Gallagher taking a snap suplex from Neville. Nese grabs a front facelock but has to stop for the sake of forearming Perkins and Alexander off the apron. Gallagher gets in a headbutt to put Nese down so Neville demands Dar allow him to take the tag. Apparently Dar isn’t the best listener though as he tags himself in, only to have the also tagged Perkins dropkick him in the face. Neville won’t have any more of this and walks out on his partners, leaving Nese to take the Detonation Kick. A Lumbar Check puts Dar away at 5:05.
Rating: C. Not a bad match here and it did a decent enough job of setting up tomorrow’s five way. There should be some good action there and that’s what we got here as well. I’m still digging the heck out of Neville with his logical actions as he has no reason to stick around when someone isn’t going to listen to the King’s orders.
Jericho pitches an idea for next week: the Festival of Friendship. Owens is skeptical but goes along with it.
We look at Reigns and Samoa Joe from earlier.
Video on the Elimination Chamber. Cole says this is a new Chamber but doesn’t elaborate. What sloppy journalism.
Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns
Joe jumps Reigns before the bell and Reigns is in trouble as we take a break with no bell. Back with the bell ringing and Reigns taking it to the floor for a whip into the barricade. Joe comes right back with an enziguri and pops Reigns in the jaw with an elbow. A slugout goes to Joe and he drops the backsplash for two more.
You’re not about to keep Reigns in trouble for that long though as he comes back with a Samoan drop. The Superman Punch is loaded up but Joe is smart enough to roll outside. That earns him the apron dropkick and a Superman Punch but here’s Strowman for a distraction. Joe gets back up and hits a Rock Bottom for the pin at 9:57.
Rating: C+. That’s the smart ending as you want to make Joe look strong in his debut but you also keep Reigns protected at the same time. The match was little more than a power brawl but that’s what both guys do best. The Strowman distraction was the right call and the match at Fastlane could be interesting as well.
Post match Strowman cleans house and powerslams Reigns through the barricade to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. I liked this better than most shows because, for once, it wasn’t so much about the in ring product. Sometimes it gets annoying to have long matches for the sake of having long matches but this week was more about setting up stuff for the future, especially Fastlane. The wrestling was perfectly acceptable this week but the important part was knocking out a bunch of stuff that they need to get done with a month before the next pay per view. Totally fine show this week and a nice upgrade over recent weeks if memory serves me right.
Nia Jax b. Bayley – Samoan drop
Braun Strowman b. ???/???/???/??? – Running powerslam
Akira Tozawa b. Drew Gulak – German suplex
Anderson and Gallows b. Sheamus/Cesaro via DQ when Big Cass interfered
New Day b. Shining Stars – Midnight Hour to Primo
Chris Jericho b. Sami Zayn – Codebreaker
Jack Gallagher/Cedric Alexander/TJ Perkins b. Tony Nese/Noam Dar/Neville – Lumber Check to Dar
Samoa Joe b. Roman Reigns – Rock Bottom
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