April 17, 2017
From the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, OH
Your hosts are Booker T, Corey Graves, and Michael Cole
We are first shown clips from last week’s attack on Roman Reigns by Braun Strowman.
Braun comes out to star the show. He talks about being proud of breaking Reigns in half and that he left in an ambulance, not to mention a separated shoulder and cracked ribs. He also tells us that Reigns will not be here tonight as a “Yes” chant breaks out. Braun promises to tear through the entire locker room to show how he is a monster among men but Kurt Angle interrupts. Angle tells Braun that he will face Reigns at Payback as Braun tells Angle that will be Reigns’ funeral and wants to know about tonight. Angle tells Braun he is suspended and will take the night off tonight but Braun does not care and demands more competition or else as Angle wants him to clarify but Braun ends up walking away and heads up the ramp, looking back and mouthing off to Angle.
They are trying hard to make Braun the heel against Roman but after last week’s attack its tough to get booed, especially against someone like Reigns. They set up a storyline for the rest of the show as we are left wondering what Braun will do tonight.
Tonight, Mickie James vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss will determine the #1 Contender to the Women’s Title. Plus, Dean Ambrose as the guest on “Miz TV” and Chris Jericho vs. Samoa Joe.
Seth Rollins comes out as he will be on commentary during Jericho vs. Joe, which will happen after the break.
Samoa Joe vs. Chris Jericho
Before the match, we are shown a replay of Joe & Kevin Owens attacking Jericho from RAW two weeks ago. Cole lets us know if Jericho defeats Owens at Payback, he will win the U.S. Championship and be part of Smackdown. The match starts with Joe driving Jericho into the corner and hammering away. Jericho fights back and gets two with a crossbody. Joe fights off a Walls of Jericho attempt but gets low-bridged then dropkicked off of the apron as we head to break. The action returns with Joe back in control. Jericho escapes from a nerve hold then they trade strikes as Seth tells us he is getting better. Jericho knocks Joe down with a forearm from the top but runs into a powerslam as Joe almost gets the victory. Jericho avoids an elbow drop then gets two with a Lionsault. Joe catches Jericho with an uranage but misses a senton from the middle rope as Jericho puts him in the Walls of Jericho. Joe is able to escape then takes Jericho down and puts on the Coquina Clutch. Jericho tries to get out and pushes himself off of the ropes in an attempt to float over but Joe maintains the hold as Jericho eventually taps out (9:08) **1/2. After the match, Joe calls out Seth and mocks his “King Slayer” nickname. He wants Seth to remember what it sounded like when he arrived as Joe remembers the sound of Seth’s ligaments and joints snapping and popping and his screams. Joe tells Seth he was nothing more than a designated target for his benefactor, Triple H, and since he loves his clientele, it will be personal when they face off at Payback after what Seth did to them at WrestleMania. Seth stands on the desk and says of course it will be personal as Joe almost cost him his career and in two weeks, he will find out that payback is a bitch.
Thoughts: Solid TV match. They are keeping Joe undefeated as he heads into Payback against Rollins. I also really liked Joe’s promo on Seth after the match. He’s been really good on the mic since debuting on the main roster.
Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows are walking backstage as we see The Drifter play the guitar. We then see Goldust & R-Truth warming up backstage where Strowman destroys both of them until agents Fit Finlay, Adam Pearce, and Jamie Noble order Strowman to leave as they tend to both men. It continues the storyline of Strowman vowing to take out everyone in the locker room.
After the replay of Strowman’s attack is shown, we see him sitting in the locker room. A referee tells him that the GM made it clear he had the night off but Strowman says he will leave when he wants, unless he has a problem with that.
Anderson & Gallows are in the ring. They compare Strowman’s beatdown to the United Airlines assault and say they came here from Japan to “make green and be mean” as they want Angle to round up some nerds for them to face. Enzo Amore & Big Cass come out and do their shtick to set up a match.
Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows vs. Enzo Amor & Big Cass
Cole lets us know that Dash Wilder of The Revival has broke his jaw and will be out for a few months. Enzo & Cass take control of the match to start. Cass clotheslines Anderson over the top rope then tosses Enzo at him on the outside as they celebrate in the ring as we head to break. We return with Enzo trying to fight out of the opposing corner but it fails. Gallows works the arm for a bit as the ex-champs stay in control. Anderson gets a nearfall with a spinebuster. Enzo fights back and hits a DDT from the middle rope as both men are down. Anderson is able to cut off a tag attempt but he misses a running boot in the corner then Enzo finally runs over and makes the tag. Cass runs wild then the match breaks down in mores ways than one as Anderson tosses Enzo into the top turnbuckle and covers for the win (10:56) **.
Thoughts: The match was fine until the end where it turned into a shitshow. The finish looked very odd and I’d like to think did not go exactly as planned. Beyond their entrance, there is just not much else to the Enzo & Cass act. They’ve not made enough progress in the ring in their first year on the main roster.
Miz TV with guest Dean Ambrose, who comes out and says he has been looking forward to this all week. Miz is upset that Ambrose did his own introduction as Ambrose apologizes for what he did last week, saying he was carried, then talks about both of them being from Ohio and he pumps up the Ohio crowd. Dean makes fun of Miz’s suit and shoes as Miz talks about acting the part and doing what it takes to be a WWE Superstar as he accuses Dean and his cheap clothing for setting wrestling back thirty years. Miz is sick of the crowd loving Dean then talks about how he squandered his momentum he had this past Summer. Miz then tells Dean he never broke through the glass ceiling because he is lazy and complacent. Dean tells Miz it doesnt matter what it wears as it matters what’s inside and talks about those focused on branding and everything else and how he does not care about endorsement deals because he loves busting his ass in the ring every night and giving his blood, sweat, and tears and that is why he is the Intercontinental Champion, as he reminds Miz that he beat him for the Championship. Maryse cuts Dean off and says that the man makes the championship, not the other way around. Miz goes off and speaks as Dean empties his pockets and removes his jacket before attacking the Miz. The Miz bails before getting hit with the Dirty Deeds then Dean tosses a chair outside.
Backstage, Strowman is dragging Kalisto around. He yells about Roman Reigns being garbage and that Kalisto is too before tossing him into a dumpster. The Big Show then runs Strowman over and tells him to pick on someone his own size as Strowman looks shocked.
We now learn that Big Show vs. Braun Strowman will take place tonight.
TJ Perkins vs. Jack Gallagher
This is a rematch from last week’s “205 Live.” Neville is then introduced as making a special appearance as he comes in and stares down Gallagher then leaves after looking at Perkins. However, Austin Aries comes out now and invites himself out for this special viewing party and announces himself as the next Cruiserweight Championship as he sits right next to Neville, who wheels his chair to the other side of the ring. Gallagher works the arm to start then gets two with a cradle. Gallagher mocks Perkins with a dab but Perkins retaliates by tossing the umbrella outside. Gallagher comes back with a few uppercuts but misses a charge and dumps outside hard as we head to break. The action returns with Perkins working the arm. Gallagher knocks Perkins outside with a headbutt then grabs his umbrella and flies out with a seated senton. Perkins then tosses Gallagher into Aries, who heads up on the apron. Neville yanks Aries down then Perkins kicks the ropes into Gallagher’s face and hits the Detonation Kick for the win (9:58) **3/4.
Thoughts: An abbreviated version of what these two did last Tuesday that also had emphasis on the Cruiserweight Championship feud and establishing Perkins as one of the top heels in the Cruiserweight Division. I would not be surprised to see these four in a tag match tomorrow night on “205 Live.”
Backstage, Akira Tozawa tells Apollo Crews he is happy to see him on Monday Night RAW. Titus O’Neill comes in and congratulates Apollo for soon becoming a father then tries to recruit him to the Titus brand and makes all sorts of puns before giving him his business card.
Mike Rome talks to the Hardy Boyz backstage. Their shirts mention how they are reborn. Both guys talk about how great it is to be back but Cesaro & Sheamus come in and first welcome them back then talk about how they loved watching them. Sheamus says it will be an honor to face them without any ladders involved at Payback where they will reclaim the Tag Team Titles. Cesaro then tells the Hardy’s he wants to keep this respect thing going on and leaves with Sheamus as the Hardy’s tell us it is great to be back. There were some subtle hints at a Cesaro & Sheamus heel turn here as they also gave some intrigue to tonight’s Cesaro vs. Jeff Hardy match.
RAW Women’s Championship #1 Contender Match: Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James vs. Nia Jax
Alexa tries to leave but Mickie & Sasha toss her into Nia, who takes out Mickie and Sasha. Alexa breaks up a pin as Nia is pissed. Alexa comes back with a slap then rolls outside. Mickie knocks Nia outside then goes back-and-forth on the mat with Sasha as Bayley is shown watching backstage on a monitor. Mickie snaps off a rana then a neckbreaker but Nia drags her outside. Sasha flies out and takes them both out as we head to break. The match returns with Alexa covering Mickie for a two count. Nia catches Alexa with a slam and does the same to the other two. She covers Mickie for two then puts her in the Cobra Clutch. Nia continues to dominate and puts Sasha in a bearhug. Sasha turns that into a guillotine but Nia deadlifts her with a suplex. Mickie turns a double choke lift into an armbar but Nia lifts her up and tosses her in the corner. Alexa gets up top but comes down when Nia sees her then Nia hits the post on a charge. The other three women go back-and-forth until Nia yanks Sasha outside then Mickie yanks Nia off of the apron. Alexa shoves Mickie into Nia but Sasha comes in and puts on the Banks Statement until Mickie makes the save. Sasha and Mickie slug it out as Mickie wins that but Sasha cuts her off on the top rope and they fight until Nia picks Sasha up on her shoulders and rams Mickie off the top before hitting a Samoan Drop. However, Alexa dropkicks Nia outside before she can make the cover then ends up pinning Sasha to become the new #1 Contender (13:45) **1/2.
Thoughts: The formula of the match was good but Nia continues to struggle in the ring. Mickie and Sasha did the heavy lifting while Alexa stole the pin as she will face Bayley for the RAW Women’s Title at Payback. The storytelling was good, even if the crowd wanted Alexa, the heel, to win.
Charly Caruso is with the Big Show, who promises to give Strowman a taste of his own medicine tonight.
Curt Hawkins is in the ring and tells us if you want to be a main event superstar, you step into the ring with him and encourages someone to come out and join his “star factory.” This is due to Big Show main eventing tonight after stepping into the ring with him last week. Finn Balor comes out next.
Curt Hawkins vs. Finn Balor
Balor beats on Hawkins to start. He hits a sling blade then a shotgun dropkick before the Coup de Grace gets him the win (0:37).
Thoughts: Not much to this other than giving Balor a quick win and establishing Hawkins as a goof. It seems that they are waiting for Orton vs. Wyatt to finish before Balor feuds with Wyatt.
Rome is backstage with Jericho. He talks about losing to Samoa Joe and that he still cannot stop thinking about his rematch at Payback against Kevin Owens. Jericho also laughs at the fact Owens calls himself the “Face of Ameica” and says the county deserves the Face of Jericho and says to “Frame it in, man” before saying the Friends of Jericho will follow him wherever he goes. He then calls Rome “Tom” and says he does not know his own name and is about to put him on the list until The Drifter walks around playing his guitar. Jericho scratches Rome from the list and puts The Drifter on instead.
Bray Wyatt tells us that he can harness fear and it lives in his “House of Horrors” before telling Randy Orton all of his fears will come to life. He keeps going on for a few more minutes as we get ominous tones playing. Just a long, rambling promo that felt ineffective and did not do anything to make me want to see this House of Horrors match. At this point, the Brat Wyatt character is dead in the water. He has lost too many feuds and its been the same exact stuff for the past four years. Unless you completely overhaul his character, he’s going to continue to flounder.
Alicia Fox shows Dana Brooke a replay of her getting powder exploded all over her on “205 Live.” Emma interrupts and tells Alicia that Dana has been showing everyone that video over and over again all week long as Alicia gets upset and does not want to be Alicia’s friend anymore. Just an atrocious segment with terrible acting as Emma continues to make life bothersome for Dana.
Jeff Hardy w/ Matt Hardy vs. Cesaro w/ Sheamus
This is being billed as a dream match as it has never happened before. They end up in a stalemate then Jeff dropkicks Cesaro outside. He flies out with a running plancha from the apron then they head back inside. Cesaro catches Jeff with a powerslam then runs out to take him down with a running uppercut against the barricade and rolls him up for a two count. Jeff fights back and heads up top but Cesaro rolls outside as we head to break. The match returns with Cesaro using Jeff’s momentum to shove him outside. Cesaro rolls him back inside and covers for two. He uses a chinlock but Jeff escapes only to get hit with another charging uppercut for a two count. Jeff comes back with a clothesline then covers after a leg drop/dropkick combo as that gets two. Cesaro spins out of a Twist of Fate to hit an uppercut as that gets two. Jeff escapes from a swing attempt but Cesaro hits the springboard corkscrew uppercut for two. Jeff fights back but Cesaro cuts him off of the top rope. Jeff crotches Cesaro on the top rope then takes him off with a dropkick. Jeff comes back with a Whisper in the Wind for two after a reversal sequence as the crowd is getting into this match. Cesaro dodges a slingshot dropkick but misses a Neutralizer as Jeff hits the Twist of Fate then goes up top for the Swanton Bomb for the win (13:05) ***. After the match, Both teams stare each other down then Sheamus extends his hand and they all shake.
Thoughts: Good match. It got a bit sloppy at the end but the crowd was into this and they put on a good showing. Cesaro might have hurt himself with an awkward landing on the ropes but they also mentioned it on commentary part of the story so it very well just could have been done due to that.
Rome is backstage giving us an update on Golden Truth but Heath Slater & Rhyno interrupt. Rhyno is eating crackers and spray cheese as Slater talks about going from not being drafted to becoming the 1st Smackdown Live Tag Team Champions then they both cower in fear as Strowman walks by on his way towards the ring for tonight’s main event. I’d take Slater & Rhyno as the comic relief on RAW over Golden Truth.
Tomorrow night on “205 Live,” we will see Austin Aries vs. TJ Perkins.
Braun Strowman vs. Big Show
Strowman runs out and starts fighting Show in the aisle. Show fights back and tosses Strowman into the barricade then the bell rings after they both step inside. Strowman gets dumped outside then Show sends him into the barricade with a baseball slide. Show beats on Strowman outside but back in the ring, Strowman hits a dropkick for two. Strowman kips up while Show has him in an armbar then takes him down with an arm drag. They are now both trying to slam each other until Show wins that battle. Strowman blocks a chokeslam then hits a suplex as he declares himself the real giant. Strowman lands some strikes as he has a cut across his chest. Show floats over on a powerslam attempt then hits a corner splash. Show places Strowman up top as the crowd goes nuts but Strowman fights him off. Show catches Strowman with a chokeslam but that only gets two. Strowman hits a powerslam but Show kicks out of that then heads up top. Show cuts him off and hits a headbutt then heads back up for a superplex but Strowman blocks that too. Strowman leaps off of the top but gets hit with the KO Punch but is able to kick out of that too. Both men are down then Show heads up top but Strowman cuts him off and hits a superplex as the ring breaks and the referee goes flying. A few other officials run out as the ring is destroyed and it ends with Strowman making his way too his feet and raising his arms and screaming while is music plays (13:54) **3/4.
Thoughts: This wasn’t perfect but a fun big man match. I did like the story of building up to the superplex spot and even though you knew it was coming it still looked great. I also hope the referee is okay as he flew outside when the ring broke. Strowman standing tall after all the chaos looked good too as he continues to mow through the competition.
Final Thoughts: Overall, a good show. The main focus was building up Strowman and they did a great job at that with it being announced he was wrestling Reigns at the PPV. The storylines make sense for the most part as well. With Payback less than two weeks away, they did a solid job filing out and hyping up the rest of the card here and we saw some good action too.