February 6, 2017
From the Moda Center in Portland, OR
Your hosts are Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and Michael Cole
Video package on the Triple H/Seth Rollins feud.
The live show starts off with both Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon in the ring. Foley welcomes us the “hottest new free agent” as he tells us its how Stephanie wanted him to introduce this person, which turns out to be Samoa Joe. He comes out wearing a suit as Stephanie gives him a proper introduction as someone who has held titles all around the world and is the “Samoan Submission Machine.” Stephanie then calls out Foley for his lack of enthusiasm and that he has to do his job as Foley tells her he has advocated for Joe in the past but does not care for the people he has associated with. Joe grabs the mic and says it took eighteen years to stand in a WWE ring and one man gave him that opportunity(Triple H) and if he had to show loyalty by beating someone down then so be it as he then puts the entire RAW locker room on notice. Roman Reigns interrupts as the crowd boos. He strolls into the ring and stares down Joe before asking him to threaten him since he’s so tough as calls himself the toughest man in the WWE and can either shut Joe’s mouth or cave it in as Foley interrupts to say he has the job to make the matches as tonight, Samoa Joe will face Roman Reigns as the segment ends with both men staring each other down.
Good segment. They presented Joe as a big deal and Reigns came out and cut a promo that played to his strengths. He had a really good showing here, as did Joe. I liked this a lot and it gives us a match the crowd was excited to see happen.
Bayley vs. Nia Jax
Bayley attacks to start the match but gets overpowered by Jax, who then slaps Bayley around. Jax stalks Bayley, who fights back from the apron and hits a stunner. Jax ends up ramming Bayley into the corner as we head to break then the match returns with Jax working a chinlock. Bayley escapes and tries for a sunset flip but Jax stops that and then biels Bayley out from the corner. Bayley fights back with a corner clothesline then hammers away but gets caught as Jax sends her outside with a short-arm clothesline. Jax heads outside and rams Bayley into the barricade but misses a charge and hits the post as Bayley gets back inside as the ref counts but Charlotte comes out and distracts Bayley and the ref. Charlotte gets yanked inside as Bayley hits a dropkick but Jax enters and catches Bayley with a Samoan Drop for the win (9:29) **. Cole then tells us that Charlotte will defend the RAW Women’s Title next week.
Thoughts: The match itself was fine but they really did not give Bayley much momentum heading into her title match next week.
Braun Strowman vs. Four Random Guys
Strowman knocks down all four guys then beats them and gets the win after stacking all for guys on top of each other following a powerslam on one of the men (1:55). After the match, Strowman grabs the mic and tells Foley he warned him about inadequate competition so now he will come find him. Strowman sees Foley and tells him his idea of competition is a joke as he wants everyone then Foley tells him he will be facing Reigns at Fast Lane.
Thoughts: Brief squash match as the story of Strowman seeking out competition is back as he now will face off against Roman Reigns.
A video hyping Akira Tozawa’s RAW debut. Lots of comments from Cesaro here as they put over Tozawa’s German suplex.
Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak
They fight over a waistlock then a headlock to start. Gulak hits a few chops but Tozawa fights back and drops Gulak with a right hand. Tozawa gets knocked outside then Gulak rolls him back inside for two. Tozawa snaps off a hurricarana then knocks Gulak off of the apron before flying out with a tope. Back inside, Tozawa dropkicks the knee then gets two with a Shining Wizard before putting Gulak away with a German suplex (3:45) *3/4. After the match, Brian Kendrick comes in and gives Tozawa a handshake and leaves.
Thoughts: Tozawa got over a bit at the end and the crowd started to mimic his chants but it was a bit slow with Gulak on offense to start. Frankly, Tozawa should have dominated the match and he did not. Overall, an okay debut but its clear they have plans for him to be a player in the Cruiserweight Division.
Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens come out to the ring. Owens talks about how last week he talked about proving people wrong his entire career and did it again after he faced Strowman as he is still the Universal Champion. Jericho talks about how he will successfully defend his title against Sami Zayn tonight but is sick of hearing about the “GOAT” and how someone stole his nickname as he puts Tom Brady on the list. Jericho then talks about WrestleMania and how Randy Orton will face the Winner of the Elimination Chamber but he has an idea for the Universal Title and that is to have himself face Owens with both titles on the line. Owens says Jericho is right as that is the biggest main event in WrestleMania history but he’s not sure he can fight his best friend. However, Goldberg comes out and tells them they have two choices, either “step aside and live” or “grow a pair” and fight him 2 vs. 1 right now. He then tells Brock Lesnar he accepts his challenge for WrestleMania. Owens tells Goldberg that him facing Lesnar will make a perfect undercard match to their main event match. Goldberg cuts Owens off and says he is still champion because they never faced off and since Owens does not have a match for Fastlane, he challenges him to a match for the title. Jericho is about to put Goldberg on the list for making his own match but Goldberg takes the list and writes his own name as the crowd taunts Jericho with Goldberg chants. Jericho tells Goldberg he has never liked him then accepts his challenge for a match at Fastlane for the Universal Title. Owens does not seem pleased as Goldberg tells him both his title and himself are next. Goldberg leaves as Owens is still arguing with Jericho.
I thought the segment was fine. It gave us a title match for Fastlane and Goldberg also accepted Lesnar’s challenge for WrestleMania with little fanfare to be honest. Plus, the conflict between the best friends continues here as Owens was unhappy that Jericho put his title on the line against Goldberg.
After the break, Owens is still upset and asks Jericho why he did this as Foley has been out to get him. Jericho says not to worry as he always has his back but Owens is more pissed about having to face Goldberg as he leaves.
WWE RAW Tag Team Championship Match: Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows (c)
Enzo Amore & Big Cass are at ringside as they want a shot at the titles. Sheamus slams Anderson then gets two with a double knee drop. Cesaro tags and works the arm for a bit. Gallows tags as Cesaro hits a few uppercuts then tags Sheamus as he fires away. Sheamus gets backed into the opposing corner as Anderson tags but Sheamus quickly fights back. Anderson kicks out a rolling senton/double stomp combo but Cesaro gets distracted by Gallows as Anderson knocks him outside before the break. We return as Anderson hits a spinebuster for two. Cesaro escapes and tags as Sheamus runs wild. Gallows breaks up a pin after a double-team move but Cesaro knocks him to the floor. Gallows then boots Enzo out of his chair so Cass hits him back and the match ends in a DQ (9:04) **1/2.
Thoughts: The match was fine but the ending fell flat as it appears that Enzo & Cass are now in the title hunt and we could get a triple threat match at Fastlane.
We get a Black History Month segment on Jackie Robinson narrated by several black WWE superstars.
After the break, we get a video package from last week as Triple H called out Seth Rollins, who got attacked fro behind by Samoa Joe. After that, Cole lets us know that Rollins’ chances of wrestling at WrestleMania are in serious doubt while Rollins’ instagram post is on the screen.
Shining Stars vs. Big E & Xavier Woods w/ Kofi Kingston
Before the match, the New Day call out the Shining Stars for having a phony resort as they give the people what they want like unicorns, dancing, and Booty O’s. The match started during the break as the New Day are in control. Primo makes a blind tag as the Shining Stars hit a enziguiri/Russian leg sweep combo. Primo mocks Big E’s dancing then puts Xavier in a chinlock. The Shining stars get a nearfall with a sandwich basement dropkick then Epico hits a delayed vertical suplex before working the arm. Primo is back in and shows off his skills but gets shoved off of the top rope then hit with a missile dropkick as both men are down. Xavier makes the tag as Big E runs wild on Epico until they put him away with the Midnight Hour (5:43) **1/4.
Thoughts: Not bad but the New Day are directionless at the moment and you really have to ask what else they can do as an act. My guess is one of them gets drafted to another brand in a few months and they end as a group that way. They really shit on the terrible timeshare gimmick and the Shining Stars were more aggressive than usual and looked good here. They’ve been stuck with so many awful gimmicks that I forgot they can go in the ring, especially Primo.
Charly Caruso is with Jericho. She asks him about his actions causing a strain on his friendship with Owens. Jericho said it was a minor disagreement and that tonight he will beat Zayn. However, Owens interrupts and tells Jericho he will beat Goldberg at Fastlane because Jericho has his back. Owens then says he will have Jericho’s back tonight against Zayn as they hug and leave.
A video on the newest members announced for the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express.
WWE United States Championship: Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho (c) w/ Kevin Owens
They trade off working the arm to start. Zayn gets two with a La Magistral as Jericho ducks out for a breather. Jericho gets Zayn to chase him and hits him with a dropkick back inside of the ring. Zayn fights back and gets two with a crossbody then tries for the Helluva Kick but Jericho bails so Zayn flies out with a tope con hilo right before the break. The match returns with Jericho choking out Zayn, who is being taunted by Owens. Zayn fights back but whiffs on a dropkick then Jericho nearly puts him away with a Lionsault. Zayn comes back with an Exploder in the corner but Jericho prevents the Helluva Kick. Zayn hits a Blue Thunder Bomb for two then heads up top and rolls through a jump. Jericho blocks a tornado DDT and puts Zayn in the Walls of Jericho. Zayn finally reaches the ropes but Owens nails Zayn with a super kick behind the ref’s back then Jericho hits the Codebreaker for the win (9:41) **3/4.
Thoughts: They had some timing issues at the beginning of the match but the second half was pretty good. The ending was anticlimactic though.
Replay of Goldberg challenging Owens for Fastlane earlier in the show.
Sasha Banks is in the trainer’s room when Charlotte strolls in with the RAW Women’s Championship. Charlotte tells Sasha it must eat her alive that she is in the trainer’s room and not fighting for the Championship as she makes reference to this being the end of Sasha’s career. More taunting of Sasha for coming up short and always being hurt.
Austin Aries welcomes Neville into the ring. He breaks the news that TJ Perkins, Tony Nese, Cedric Alexander, Noam Dar, and Jack Gallagher will face in a Fatal Five-Way match tomorrow night on 205 Live for the right to face Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship and wants to know which of them scares him the most. Neville says its irrelevant as no matter who wins will have to show respect to the king but Cedric Alexander comes out as does everyone else involved in the match as Aries goes off about this being a one-on-one interview. Perkins attacks Nese as that triggers a brawl. Neville teases a dive to the outside but stops and taunts the fans as we head to break. A fine segment to hype up the #1 contender’s match for tomorrow night.
Another vignette teasing the debut of Emmalina, which will apparently happen next week. Or not.
Neville & Noam Dar & Tony Nese vs. Cedric Alexander & TJ Perkins & Jack Gallagher
This match started during the break. Neville beats on Gallagher then hits a snap suplex. Dar tags and works the arm as Gallagher is getting worked over. Nese mouths off to Perkins but walks into a headbutt from Gallagher a both men are down. Dar tags in after cutting of Neville as he tells him he has this but Gallagher crawls underneath his legs to make the tag. Perkins runs wild on Dar then stares down Neville but gets dropkicked. Dar crawls to Neville, who walks away and leaves as Dar almost gets put away with a small package as Nese makes the save. Nese and Dar stare down Neville but Perkins cleans house then tags Alexander as he hits Dar with a springboard clothesline then the Lumbar Check for the win (5:03) *1/2.
Thoughts: They are trying to make Neville the loner of the Cruiserweight Division. He’s been great as a heel, transforming his whole in-ring style, but this match was too long and clunky for what they were trying to accomplish. Dar really doesnt belong on TV if you ask me and could use some more training while Perkins is got some shine and I sense he might be turning heel fairly soon as he was cockier than usual. The way this ended makes you think that Cedric will win tomorrow night’s match but the crowd was ice cold for this as the Cruiserweight Division continues to struggle.
Jericho is with Owens in the locker room and sells him on the idea of the “Festival of Friendship” next week on RAW when they are in Las Vegas. Looks like we will get a wacky segment for next week.
Video package on John Cena’s title win at the Royal Rumble to hype up the Elimination Chamber PPV this Sunday.
Reigns comes out for his match but Joe attacks him from behind. Joe continues to beat on Reigns outside of the ring then finally enters as the crowd boos. Joe heads back out and inflicts more punishment as the referee goes on to check on Reigns as we head to break.
Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe
Joe beats on Reigns, who was barely able to make it into the ring. Reigns reverses a whip and sends Joe to the floor. He hits a baseball slide then follows out and fires away. He sends Joe into the barricade then heads back inside and beats on Joe in the corner. Joe follows with an elbow smash in the corner then hits an enziguiri. He yells at Reigns then hits a headbutt before laying into Reigns in a nice sequence. Joe throws some jabs then works a cravate before getting two with a snap suplex. Joe now works a surfboard as the crowd is behind Reigns. They slug it out after Reigns breaks free until Reigns hits a clothesline. Joe misses a corner attack but comes back and takes Reigns down and gets two off of a senton. Joe throws more jabs in the corner but Reigns gets back to his feet and hits a Samoan Drop for two. Joe rolls outside to avoid a Superman Punch but gets hit with the Drive By. Back inside, Reigns knocks Joe down with the Superman Punch but Strowman comes out and stands on the apron. Reigns takes Strowman off the apron but Joe nails Reigns from behind with an enziguiri then hits an uranage for the win (9:55) ***1/4. After the match, Strowman hits Reigns with a running powerslam as the crowd starts a “thank you, Strowman” chant. Strowman then beats on Reigns outside and charges while hitting him with the steps before putting him through the barricade with a powerslam.
Thoughts: Good match. Joe and Reigns have chemistry in the ring and I’d love to see a longer match between the two. The finish was surprising as I figured Strowman would come out and interfere but for the match to end in a no-contest. The crowd was also cheering for Reigns being destroyed after the crowd got behind him a bit during the match.
Final Thoughts: Overall, I thought the show was solid. They announced the top two matches for Fastlane and set up next week’s show with the Women’s Title match and the “Festival of Friendship” segment. The Owens/Jericho storyline was focused on a lot here and I thought those segments were pretty good for the most part. There were some deadspots on the show and the Cruiserweight Division continues to struggle. Maybe the debut of Tozawa helps a bit but at this point I would not count on that.
The main problem with WWE is that while they are really good at creating heels, they’ve been terrible at putting out babyface acts the crowds can get behind and relate to, which makes the crowds in general quiet for the most part. A good chunk of that can be attributed to terrible written dialogue but the main problem is how they craft storylines. If they had some really hot acts at the top of the card that were faces then the product would be more popular with the love crowds.
Back on the subject of creating heels, they did a fantastic job with Samoa Joe tonight. And, by the time SummerSlam rolls around, there is a very good chance that Strowman could be the most popular guy on the roster. He’s really excelling in his role.
Compared to last year, the creative direction heading into WrestleMania is much, much better though and it should make for an interesting time until the big show.