Date: February 9, 2017
Location: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Austin Aries, Byron Saxton
I suddenly have hope for this show with New Day appearing last week. There’s already more than enough talent on Raw so just have one of the names show up here instead. It’s not like you can’t fit someone on here for a five minute match and have them cut a quick promo or make a quick appearance on the big show. Let’s get to it.
Curtis Axel vs. Bo Dallas
Axel goes with a dropkick to start before taking Bo into the corner. Curtis: “I BELIEVED IN YOU BO!!!” Now that’s just insulting. That earns Curtis a throat first drop across the top rope and we hit the cravate. It’s off to an American chinlock for a change before Axel comes back with a clothesline into the Hennig necksnap. The PerfectPlex puts Dallas away at 3:48.
Rating: D+. Just a match here as Dallas’ de-push continues (as you had to expect) and this is Axel’s latest instance of getting one win and then never doing anything with it. As usual this isn’t his fault because he’s on Main Event where pushes don’t really exist, unless you’re Darren Young of course.
To Raw for the first time.
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.
And now the second time.
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.
Sin Cara vs. Rusev
Again with the somewhat known name. If nothing else this means we get Lana’s rather fetching new haircut. Lana even introduces him as Handsome Rusev, who still has the face mask to protect the broken nose. Rusev wastes no time in stomping Cara down in the corner and slowly pounds him down. A dropkick staggers Rusev but Cara gets knocked out to the floor as we take a break.
Back with Rusev throwing him around even more as the camera stays on Lana (very wise). Cara makes the mistake of rolling him up for two so Rusev cranks on his arm. The comeback consists of a springboard elbow to Rusev’s jaw and something like an Angle Slam. Cara’s frog splash gets two but the Swanton hits knees. The Accolade makes Cara tap at 10:11.
Rating: C. Better match than I was expecting here with Cara getting in some offense. Rusev worked fine as the arrogant monster who let Cara get back into it, only to crush him in the end. On top of that, Lana has flat out mastered the evil heel manager role. She has so much confidence to her and that makes for a great character.
We’ll wrap it up with this.
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. This was better than I was expecting and one of the better shows they’ve done in a good while. It really does help to have bigger names on the card for a change as it almost automatically enhances the interest. I know there isn’t going to be an upset or anything but at least it keeps things from being as boring.
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