Monday Night Raw – March 20, 2017: The Wrestlemania Reds (Because Smackdown is Blue)
Date: March 20, 2017
Location: Barclays Center, New York Center, New York
Commentators: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
WE WANT PAIGE! Sorry just thought I’d get you used to those tonight as the New York crowd is going to let you know about it all night long. We’re less than two weeks away from Wrestlemania and there’s a good chance tonight is going to be all about the big push towards the show. Already announced tonight is Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens on the Highlight Reel. Let’s get to it.
We open with a long recap of the end of last week’s show with Mick Foley being told he had to fire someone and getting in a fight with HHH as a result. This led to Seth Rollins coming out and brawling with HHH as well until a crutch to the knee took Rollins down to end the show.
Here’s Mick Foley to get things going but he has to read a speech off some cards, thanking HHH and Stephanie for giving him his job. He talks about the end of last week’s show and how stupid it was. Foley says he’s taking a leave of absence but goes on a rant about how he was given these stupid cards ten minutes before the show started. He’s been in this business for thirty one years and this is how he’s treated. Foley: “I’M MICK FREAKING FOLEY!” The mic gets cut off and here’s Stephanie to a rousing chorus of boos.
Stephanie rips on Foley for not being able to do anything right and finally fires him. Cue Sami Zayn of all people to say that Foley has had more integrity in the last nine months than she’s had in her whole life. Sami rips on her but she laughs him off and says Sami isn’t worthy to speak to her at all, let alone like this. She tells him to get out of here but Sami says he’s going to stay here and do the right thing. Cue Samoa Joe (with Stephanie talking over his music) and we’ve got a match. Sami hits a big flip dive before a break or the bell.
Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe
Joined in progress with Sami firing off some forearms until a hard elbow to the face puts him down. Joe’s big kneedrop gets two and the powerslam gets the same as Corey sums up Joe in a single line: “Beating will continue until morality improves.” That’s an old Craig Pittman line (don’t bother looking it up) and one of my favorites ever. The Muscle Buster is broken up so Joe knocks him outside for the suicide elbow.
Back from a break with Sami caught in a bow and arrow and shaking his head rather hard. Sami gets up and hits one heck of a clothesline to sent Joe outside but Joe is right there to break up the suicide dive. Joe gets posted and the diving DDT through the ropes crushes Joe, only to have Sami comes up holding his arm. Back in and the Helluva Kick is countered into the Rock Bottom out of the corner. The Koquina Clutch ends Sami at 12:20.
Rating: B-. Good, hard hitting match here and more entertaining than their pay per view match at Fastlane. Joe is being treated like a killer and is already as effective as he was down in NXT. I had a fun time with this one as Sami is one of the best ever at taking a stiff beating, especially from someone as good as Joe.
We look back at Braun Strowman attacking Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble.
Post break Foley is talking to Sami, who thanks him for everything and says it’s a rare instance where it’s ok to meet his hero. Sheamus and Cesaro thank Foley for believing him in them and hugs abound. Speaking of hugs, Foley runs into Bayley for another hug but turns around to see HHH, who tells him to have a nice day. Foley leaves, without his luggage for some reason.
We look back at Rollins vs. HHH from last week.
Video of Rollins’ rehab.
We get a talk with a doctor, who says Seth’s knee has been re-aggravated and only the brace saved it from being horrible. It’s going to be several MONTHS before Rollins is ready to compete but there’s a big reason to believe he’ll be at Wrestlemania anyway. No doctor will clear him in time.
Charlotte vs. Dana Brooke
Fallout from Charlotte turning on Dana last week. Dana waistlocks her to the mat and hammers away in the corner, sending Charlotte out to the floor for a breather. Back in and Dana gets two off a clothesline followed by an elbow drop. Charlotte looks stunned as a WE WANT PAIGE (to the NEW DAY ROCKS beat) starts up. A quick big boot takes Dana’s head off for the pin at 3:40. That was Charlotte’s only major offensive move.
Rating: C-. This was a way to push Dana a bit and it worked to a certain degree. The roster could always use some fresh blood so pushing Dana is a good idea and I can see why they didn’t put her over Charlotte in her first match. Not bad though. The ending was really sudden though and it hurt things a lot.
Bayley questions Stephanie’s actions so she makes Nia Jax vs. Bayley for later tonight. If Nia wins, the Women’s Title match at Wrestlemania is a fatal four way. We’ll throw in a bonus by making it No DQ.
Here’s Jericho for the Highlight Reel. Jericho wants to talk about the REAL Kevin Owens but first has to acknowledge the Friends of Jericho, who he’d like to “CHEER ME ON MAN!” Chris gets back to the point and shows us a picture of Owens at 16 years old in a Y2J shirt, doing a Jericho pose.
That looks like a fan of Jericho and “he was marking out man!”. Then he was signed to WWE in 2014 and actually sent Jericho a DM on Twitter (which we see) where he asked if Jericho had any advice. At the end, Owens said he’d be there if Jericho needed anything. That brings us to Fastlane, where Owens was terrified when Jericho came out.
See, the truth is that Jericho isn’t Owens’ friend because he’s Owens’ idol. At Wrestlemania, Owens is facing his hero and idol, the best in the world, the Ayatollah, Chris Jericho man! Do you know what happen when you stab Chris Jericho in the back? Cue Samoa Joe for a distraction so Owens can jump Jericho from behind. Owens gives him the Pop Up Powerbomb and RIPS UP THE LIST!
We look at Strowman and Reigns’ contract signing from last month.
TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick
Perkins sends him outside for the slingshot dropkick, followed by a high crossbody for two. Not that it matters as Perkins gets caught in Sliced Bread #2 for the pin at 1:25.
Post match Kendrick talks about Akira Tozawa not being in the country and pulls out Tozawa’s passport. So how did he leave the country?
Roman Reigns says this is his yard.
Long video on Goldberg vs. Lesnar, focusing on Goldberg’s rise and their Wrestlemania XX match.
Stephanie makes Cesaro/Sheamus vs. Enzo/Big Cass/Gallows/Anderson. If Sheamus and Cesaro lose, they’re out of the triple threat.
Nia Jax vs. Bayley
Non-title and No DQ. Bayley goes right after her to start but gets knocked outside with Nia throwing her around like she’s not even there. The running hip attack hits the steps though and we take a break. Back with Nia holding a chinlock before dropping some big elbows. With that not going anywhere, Nia takes her outside and swings Bayley into the barricade a few times. It’s chair time but Bayley baseball slides it into her face. The fans are doing the Wave and chanting for Sasha as Bayley gets in a high crossbody for two. Now it’s off to the CM Punk chants as the Samoan drop ends Bayley at 10:10.
Rating: D. “We put Bayley in backstage segments with Bayley. If she can’t overcome all these losses and times where she’s treated like nothing, that’s just her fault.” That’s pretty clearly the mentality around here because WWE has no idea what made Bayley work in NXT and thinks she can be treated like anyone else. BUT DID I MENTION SHE’S BEEN IN SEGMENTS WITH STEPHANIE??? Oh and there was no reason for this to be No DQ. Bayley could have hit a regular baseball slide and it would change nothing.
Women’s History Month video on Mae Young.
Here’s an in-ring sitdown interview with HHH. The boss talks over the CM Punk chants and explains how people like Mick Foley started listening to the fans, just like Seth Rollins. HHH talks about the end of last week’s show and we see it again (third time tonight). HHH: “That’s on you!” He finds it funny that the crutch had to use a crutch to come to the ring last week and it was the crutch that cost him in the end. He’s done with Rollins because Seth won’t be able to fight at Wrestlemania.
HHH has pulled some tickets for Rollins and hands them to Cole before going to leave. Not so fast though as HHH thinks we might need to get this over with once and for all. Everyone wants to see this fight so he’ll draw up a release saying Seth can’t sue HHH for ending his career. If Rollins is the man he thinks he is, he’ll show up next week and sign the paperwork so they can have the match.
Clip of Reigns beating Strowman at Fastlane.
Cesaro/Sheamus vs. Enzo Amore/Big Cass/Anderson and Gallows
Enzo and Cass do their thing before the match and get in a fight with Anderson and Gallows. The distraction sets up a Brogue Kick on Gallows for the pin at 36 seconds.
Enzo and Cass beat up the champs again post match.
New Day is in the back and Big E. asks if Woods has anything to tell him about. That would be Wrestlemania actually as the trio talks about the bigger matches. Big E. is really, really excited for Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar. They even act out a little bit of the buildup.
Austin Aries vs. Tony Nese
Aries claps his hands around Nese’s ears to start but gets forearmed in the face as we take an early break. Back with Nese holding him in a torture rack but missing a springboard moonsault. Aries comes back with a suplex and the very popular Pendulum Elbow. A missile dropkick sets up the discus five-arm (dang it Terry Taylor) for the pin at 7:55.
Rating: C-. This was just a way to show you that Aries is indeed awesome and ready to face Neville at Wrestlemania. I can go for Aries getting a good push before his title match as he needs to get back in ring shape. Aries is already better than most of the division so a few wins like this are a good idea.
Post match Neville comes out and Aries is more than ready to go. Neville says he’s not wasting his time going to the ring because Aries is beneath him. Aries sees a man who knows he has to face the greatest man who ever lived. Over the next thirteen days, Neville needs to enjoy the title while it lasts because it’s time for the title to go to the A-Double Level.
Emma is coming soon.
Video on Goldberg vs. Lesnar over the last few months.
Strowman says he’s going to destroy Reigns.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Reigns starts fast and knocks Strowman to the floor but the apron dropkick is broken up with one heck of a clothesline. Back in and a hard whip sends Reigns into the buckle before we hit a very big chinlock. Reigns fights up with some clotheslines before avoiding a charge in the corner.
That means more clotheslines but he has to escape a chokeslam. The Samoan drop (with some effort) gets two and the apron dropkick makes things even worse for Braun. Not that it matters as Reigns is whipped hard into the steps, which are then thrown into the ring. Roman Superman Punches them out of his hand though and escapes the powerslam. Another Superman Punch drops Braun and Reigns loads the spear, only to have Undertaker appear in the ring. Undertaker actually chokeslams Strowman, winces a lot and turns around for the spear. We’ll say the match is a no contest at about 9:00.
Rating: C-. These two work well together and I’m glad there’s no finish as Reigns pinning Strowman didn’t need to happen again (nor did it really need to happen in the first place but that’s a different story). Reigns vs. Undertaker will be fine, assuming Undertaker can keep going physically.
Reigns leaves and Undertaker sits up about thirty seconds later, which Graves says should shake Reigns’ confidence.
Overall Rating: D. Yeah this wasn’t much, especially due to the lack of wrestling. I mean, it’s no surprise that it’s happening as we’re two weeks away from Wrestlemania and the card is mostly set in stone but it doesn’t make this the easiest show in the world to sit through. I’m not interested in the Stephanie story (though I rarely am) but she mostly disappeared in the second half of the show. This wasn’t a great week but it was almost exactly what I was expecting. Next week is going to be about the same, if not even worse and you should just prepare for it now.
Samoa Joe b. Sami Zayn – Koquina Clutch
Charlotte b. Dana Brooke – Big boot
Brian Kendrick b. TJ Perkins – Sliced Bread #2
Nia Jax b. Bayley – Samoan drop
Cesaro/Sheamus b. Enzo Amore/Big Cass/Anderson and Gallows – Brogue Kick to Gallows
Austin Aries b. Tony Nese – Discus Five Arm
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman went to a no contest when Undertaker interfered
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