February 13, 2017
From the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV
Your hosts are Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and Michael Cole
The show starts with a graphic honoring Chavo Guerrero Sr., who passed away this weekend.
Stephanie McMahon starts off the live show. She tells us that due to his conduct last week at Samoa Joe’s contract signing, Mick Foley has the night off and she is running RAW tonight. Roman Reigns interrupts to boos as he wants Braun Strowman right now. Stephanie says since she is running the show tonight its about what the WWE Universe wants. She tells them the people do not care he was beat last week and not at 100%, but she does. Reigns says he doesnt care what anyone thinks about him, especially Stephanie but is told he will not get to face Strowman until Fastlane as Strowman will face Mark Henry tonight. Reigns says that sounds like one hell of a fight that he might come out to watch as Stephanie threatens him about not having a WrestleMania match. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson interrupt to say they cannot sit back and listen to Reigns disrespect Stephanie as she thanks them. They suggest they both face Roman Reigns tonight as Stephanie dedicates this to Teddy Long and does a purposely bad impression of his catchphrases. Reigns comes out and beats on both men until he gets outnumbered as a few referees come out to separate them before the break.
They were trying way too hard to get Roman over as a face here and the crowd saw through it and booed him anyway. You cannot force the crowd to like something they do not want to see. You also got your standard stuff from Steph here as this was uninspired to say the least.
Roman Reigns vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Gallows & Anderson are in control to start. Reigns fights back and knocks Gallows off of the apron before beating on Anderson. He knocks Gallows off the apron again then hits a Superman Punch on Anderson but Gallows comes back up and knocks Reigns down. Reigns gets double-teamed and Gallows & Anderson do not stop so the ref rings the bell for the DQ (3:10) *. They set up for the Magic Killer but Reigns escapes and fights them off.
Thoughts: The finish was dumb and unless this is to set up something later on in the show, it made zero sense. At least the champs didn’t get jobbed out so it could have been worse.
We get a video package on Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho to hype up their “Festival of Friendship” tonight. This shows us when Jericho made his list as we get a montage of him adding people.
The New Day come out to the ring. They address Bo Dallas, who is in the ring by himself. Kofi jokingly refers to him as a “social outcast” Big E holds up the blueprint for the New Day Ice Cream machine and after Kofi wins they will find a way to bring ice cream to everyone.
Bo Dallas vs. Kofi Kingston w/ Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston
The crowd chants “we want ice cream” as Kofi takes Bo outside with a dropkick. Bo starts dancing but grabs the blueprints from Big E and tears them up. The rest of New Day cries as Kofi flies out with a tope con hilo. Back inside, Bo almost puts Kofi away with a neckbreaker then he fires away in the corner but Kofi comes right back and hits the S.O.S for the win (2:14) 1/4*. After the match, Big E comes in and pours Booty O’s down Bo’s throat.
Thoughts: The ice cream stuff was dumb, to me anyway, but the crowd chanted for it so I suspect they will be sticking with it for a while. The post-match antics with Big E pouring cereal down Bo’s mouth is also something I can see happening again. The New Day remain directionless though.
Charly Caruso is backstage with Neville and asks him about his opponent at Fastlane, Jack Gallagher. Neville cuts Charly off for talking about Jack Gallagher then says that TJ Perkins, someone he has obliterated before, poses more of a threat when they face off tomorrow on “205 Live.” Neville says that Gallagher is not on his level as Gallagher tells Neville he will find out soon enough if he is right. The segment was decent enough as this feud is at least intriguing.
Another video package airs to hype up the “Festival of Friendship.”
Noam Dar w/ Alicia Fox vs. “Gentleman” Jack Gallagher
Gallagher gets the best of Dar as Cole asks Aries about returning to the ring as Aries says he is on a whole other level than the rest of the Cruiserweight Division. Dar backs Gallagher into the corner then works the leg for a bit. Gallagher does a handstand on the turnbuckle then make a comeback. He hits Dar with a pair of dropkicks and follows with a headbutt before hitting a running dropkick for the win (3:14) *1/2. After the match, Neville comes out and holds up the Cruiserweight Title from the ramp.
Thoughts: The action was solid but not particularly exciting or anything. The in-ring part of the Cruiserweight Division still does not stand out much from the rest of the main roster.
A limo pulls up backstage as Samoa Joe and Triple H get out while Cole tells us Joe will have an interview tonight.
Emmalina is premiering…………………………..next!
Another video package to hype the “Festival of Friendship” that focuses on Jericho attacking Rollins, costing him his title match against Owens from this past November.
Emmalina comes out in a dress. She says we have waited 17 weeks for her makeover from Emma to Emmalina but now we will see the makeover from Emmalina to Emma. Back to the drawing board for Emma.
Charly is backstage with Bayley. She first commented on how Emmalina will be leaving the division before Bayley came out. Bayley talks about her nerves tonight as she will be wrestling for the title. She talks about coming close at the Royal Rumble and that she will hit the “jackpot” when she achieves her dream of the RAW Women’s Championship. I like her passion and demeanor but the verbiage here was poor and Bayley’s promo skills remain subpar.
Jericho is backstage and asking Owens if he is ready for tonight. Triple H approaches and asks to speak with Owens as Jericho is taken back a bit but wishes Owens luck.
Back from break, we see Triple H talking with Owens but cannot hear what they are saying.
Braun Strowman vs. Mark Henry
Cole stresses how Stephanie promised to take away Reigns’ WrestleMania match if he interfered tonight. They fight over a lockup then Henry gets in Strowman’s face but ends up being attacked. Henry fires back but Strowman lands a cheap shot after a break in the corner. Strowman hits a headbutt then kicks Henry in the ribs before applying a chinlock. Strowman sends Henry down with a clothesline but Henry blocks a second attempt and goes after the arm. He follows with a pair of corner splashes but fails on a slam attempt as Strowman falls on top. Strowman then hits a dropkick and screams before putting him away with a powerslam (4:51) *. After the match, Reigns heads out to the ring but Strowman knocks him off of the apron. Strowman yells at Reigns to come get him as Reigns pumps up and snaps Strowman’s neck off of the top rope. He staggers Strowman with a Superman Punch then another one sends him on one knee. Reigns charges for a spear but Strowman catches him and hits a powerslam.
Thoughts: Strowman looked decent here in the ring but poor Henry seemed gassed by the end of this. The post-match stuff was odd as Reigns came out after the match and was left lying on the mat anyway.
We see clips of the Owens vs. Reigns match at Roadblock to hype up the “Festival of Friendship.”
Backstage, Cesaro & Sheamus try to give advice to Bayley but end up arguing. Big Cass & Enzo Amore interrupt to call them a couple of “haters” as Sheamus stumbles over his lines but recovers nicely as he and his partner are upset over the fact Enzo cost them the titles last week. Sheamus & Cesaro get more annoyed with Enzo and it ends in a staredown as it appears we are getting Enzo vs. Cesaro tonight.
Cole conducts a sit down interview with Joe. He asks about his “dishonorable” tactics. Joe says he is right but that he does not care as he came here for one thing, which is to hurt people. Joe says Triple H brought him here as Cole wants to know why he is here now and brings up how people say Triple H brought him here because he is afraid of Seth Rollins. Joe said that he was not here sooner because the company was scared of him and because of him, Rollins will miss WrestleMania for the second year in a row. Joe gets upset over the fact he keeps hearing Cole mention Triple H and says if Rollins does happen to come back he will put him right back out of action. Joe talks about how he takes out everyone they put in front of him, like Rollins and Reigns, but unlike Sami Zayn he is not satisfied with just being on RAW. Cole then asks Joe about what happened to the others previously aligned with Triple H but he does not care as they all needed to be propped up and he does not because of the fact he can take care of business by himself. Joe ends by saying if anyone gets in his way, they will learn why the “creator unleashed the destroyer.” Excellent promo by Joe. His cadence was perfect and he carried himself like a star. He did a great job as did Cole in his role as the interviewer. I like these sit down segments when they were on WWE.com and having them on RAW is a great way to fill time on the show.
Sami Zayn vs. Rusev w/ Lana
Rusev is still sporting his mask. He traps Zayn in the corner then shoves him back before applying a front facelock on the mat. The announcers talk about how hard Zayn has worked to get where he is today as Rusev remains in control. Zayn fights back but Rusev cuts him off. Zayn sends Rusev outside with a dropkick then takes him out with a tope con hilo. Zayn rolls Rusev but gets drilled with a super kick and falls to the floor as we head to break. The match returns with Rusev in control as we see how he beat on Zayn during the break. He puts Zayn in a bearhug then traps him in the ropes and delivers a few knee smashes. Rusev’s faceguard falls off after hitting a fallaway slam then he puts it back on and places Zayn on top. Zayn fights back and takes Rusev down with a headbutt. Zayn rolls through a jump but runs into a roundhouse kick as Rusev covers for a nearfall. Rusev chops away in the corner then hits an avalanche as Zayn drops to the mat. Zayn dodges a corner splash as Rusev falls to the floor. Zayn is on the apron but Rusev yanks him off and hits a clothesline. He rolls Zayn back inside but gets met with a Helluva Kick as Zayn gets the surprise win (11:00) **3/4. After the match, Charly asks Zayn if this boost his confidence after losing last week to Jericho. Zayn says losing sucks but tonight was a step in the right direction and that is what he is all about and that is coming back after a tough loss. Zayn calls out Joe for his comment earlier and says that he does not clean up people’s messes nor does he “sell out.” Zayn says WrestleMania is on his mind but Joe’s music hits. Zayn faces the entrance but Joe ambushed him from the side. Joe then hammers away and yells “say my name” before applying the Kokina Clutch. Joe pushes Zayn off then looks around as the crowd boos.
Thoughts: The match itself was solid although was the finish really felt abrupt. However, the post-match promo was better than most of Zayn’s recent character work and once again Joe came off like a star in how he attacked Zayn. He got some good heel heat here.
A video package on Teddy Long to welcome him into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Akira Tozawa vs. Ariya Daivari
Brian Kendrick is also on commentary here along with the rest of the regular RAW Cruiserweight team. He says there are at least two cruiserweights on their phone and one playing video games right now instead of paying attention to what’s going on in the ring. The crowd mimics Tozawa’s chants as Kendrick talks about being the first WWE “Indy Darling” back in 2003 and how he wants to mentor Tozawa here in the company. They trade chops until Tozawa slaps Daivari down after outsmarting him. Daivari fights back and hits a clothesline that gets two then locks on a sleeper. Tozawa fights out of that then snaps off a hurricarana before knocking Daivari off of the apron. Tozawa flies out with a tope before heading back inside and getting the win with a German suplex (3:11) *1/2.
Thoughts: The chanting thing just might get over with the crowd as the story with Kendrick wanting to mentor Tozawa continues as I’m sure Kendrick has some ulterior motive behind all of this. Daivari continues to bore in his matches with his rudimentary offense.
We get the final video package to put over the “Festival of Friendship” as we saw Owens help Jericho retain the U.S. Title last week against Zayn.
Jericho announces the Festival of Friendship as we get fireworks and dancers as Jericho comes out as the host. He welcomes Owens, who comes out and shakes his head as he does not want to be involved in this. They finally get to the ring a Jericho remains ecstatic. He talks about artist Ralph Guigenheim made him the “Art of Jericho” as its two people intertwined. Owens does not look pleased but instead of bashing it says its price of $7,000 is a steal. We then get the “Creation of Kevin” which is a recreation of the “Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo. After that, we get Friendship the Magician, whose lame tricks earn him a spot on the List of Jericho as the crowd cheers. After telling us he found the magician on Craigslist, Jericho tells Owens he will be a friend and call Goldberg out to the ring but we abruptly cut to a commercial. We come back with Jericho telling Goldberg he will get “it” as we hear Goldberg’s music but out comes Gillberg. Owens looks pissed and heads out to destroy him before heading back inside. Owens picks up the Universal Title and tells Jericho he thought the whole point of this was to beat Goldberg up together but instead he got all of this and Gillberg. Owens wants to know what this was about as Jericho said he did it for him and to show everyone how much he meant to him as a friend. Jericho says this has been one of his best year’s in the WWE and its because of Owens and the biggest present is that he will guarantee Owens he will come out with the Universal Title as he has his back. Owens apologizes as this is not what he expected but he went through all the trouble for this then gives Jericho a hug. He tells Jericho he got something for him too but it pales in comparison as he gives him a box. Jericho opens it up and its a new list. However, its the “List of KO” and then Owens attacks Jericho. He tosses Jericho outside and kicks his ass before hitting an apron powerbomb. Owens rolls Jericho back inside and says “I hate you” before smashing Jericho’s head into his Jeritron 5000. Owens raises his belt as officials tend to Jericho then casually tosses the sculpture before leaving with a focused look on his face.
This was a long segment, clocking in at well over 20 minutes, but the turn was just fantastic. Having Jericho sincerely tell Owens just how much their friendship has meant only for Owens to turn on him with a fake gift really sold this. Owens got some major heat here from the crowd and Jericho is now one of the most over babyfaces in the company. You also have to figure that Triple H influenced Owens here with their talk from earlier tonight. One of the best heel turns in recent memory.
Back from commercial, Jericho is being loaded into an ambulance as the announcers are all shocked about the attack.
Enzo & Cass head out to the ring. Enzo does his shtick then does his analysis of Cesaro and how he tries to be the Swiss Superman, James Bond, and a Baywatch Lifeguard but he will “Swiss Miss” because he chokes a lot. Cass then talks about topping him off with marshmallows as Enzo drops some to the mat to put over Cesaro vs. Enzo, which will happen after the break. I thought this promo was awful to be honest.
Enzo Amore w/ Big Cass vs. Cesaro w/ Sheamus
Cesaro cuts off Enzo with an uppercut then follows with a gutwrench suplex. Enzo messed up a spot in which he was suppose to get tossed over the ropes and onto the apron so he just jumps over himself. Cesaro blocks a sunset flip and beats on him for a bit. Enzo comes back with a leaping DDT but Enzo gets caught in midair with an uppercut as Cesaro gets the win (2:40) 1/4*. After the match, Sheamus and Cass jaw at each other.
Thoughts: Another match in which Enzo appeared inept. At least this was short though and it appears these two teams are feuding over who will be the #1 contender to the Tag Team Titles.
We get a Black History Month segment on Rosa Parks, narrated by several African-American WWE Superstars.
Charlotte walks into Sasha Banks while heading to the ring. She lets Sasha know the belt is a reminder of how hard she fell as Sasha challenges Charlotte for another match. Charlotte laughs Sasha off then tells her how she has lost enough times and that she can watch backstage. She leaves as Sasha looks pissed off backstage.
Next week, Braun Strowman vs. Big Show will take place.
WWE RAW Women’s Championship Match: Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair (c)
Charlotte works the arm for a bit. She yanks Bayley down by the hair then taunts the crowd but Bayley rolls her up for a one count. Bayley is now working the arm then she slaps Charlotte down after getting shoved in the corner. Charlotte bails and has a surprised look on her face as we head to break. We come back with Charlotte in control. Bayley hulks up after getting hit with a pair of turnbuckle smashes then returns the favor to Charlotte. She get two with a crossbody but Charlotte reverses a go-behind and tosses Bayley, whose head smashes against the bottom turnbuckle. Charlotte smashes Bayley’s head off of the mat then stretches her out in the ropes. Charlotte works a hangman’s neckbreaker for a bit then drops her for a two count. Charlotte does the Flair Strut before delivering a knee drop then chops Bayley down. Bayley gets to the ropes and reverses a front facelock. She sends Charlotte into the corner then avoids a charge only to get booted off of the apron. Charlotte heads out and mocks the crowd then hits a moonsault block from the barricade and rolls her inside but only gets a two count. Charlotte is frustrated as she cannot put Bayley away. Bayley starts to fight back then they collide in midair attempting crossbodies as both women are down. Bayley is up first and runs wild. Back elbow smash gets two from the middle rope then she hits Charlotte with a rope hung neckbreaker. Bayley heads up top and drops an elbow for a nearfall. Bayley cuts Charlotte off of the top rope and heads up with her and hits a hurricarana for a nearfall as the fans are really getting into this match. Dana Brooke runs up on the apron but Bayley takes her off. Charlotte tries a rollup but Bayley reverses and applies a figure four. Bayley gets her eyes raked as Charlotte applies the figure four. Sasha then runs out and whacks Dana with her crutch and then hits Charlotte as Bayley catches Charlotte with the Bayley-to-Belly and gets the win and the RAW Women’s Title (18:01) ****1/4. After the match, Sasha celebrates with Bayley in the ring then Bayley celebrates with the fans.
Thoughts: I thought this was an incredible match. I loved the story of Charlotte not taking Bayley seriously then becoming increasingly frustrated as the match went on due to the relentlessness of her opponent. I didn’t mind the finish as Charlotte got her comeuppance and the crowd really became invested in this as it went along. Also, Cole was superb on commentary this match. He put over the story and called the action in the ring with great emotion. He deserves props for making this even more special. I hope this isn’t something they do just for the sake of creating a “moment” and that Charlotte wins the belt back on PPV but if it is, we at least got something special tonight.
Final Thoughts: The first hour of the show was dreadful but the final two hours were solid as as whole. Fastlane looks like a pretty good show and they did a fantastic job at presenting Samoa Joe as a threat. Plus, with Joe and now Owens back under Triple H’s influence, could we see a stable form? Maybe Gallows & Anderson can be considered since they stood up for Stephanie and were unable to put Reigns away tonight.
The problem with the WWE struggling to create babyfaces was remedied a bit here as they made Jericho seem like a sympathetic figure after the Owens attack and Joe got heel heat after attacking Zayn. And you cannot forget how over Bayley was after winning the title. As far as how Roman Reigns came off tonight, it was not good at all. A feud against Strowman as currently designed will end up with Strowman getting favorable reactions from the crowds.
There was some crap tonight but the title change and Owens turn were both great and worth watching. The creative direction is not perfect but there was some good stuff to build from here.