3/13 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass for a tag title shot at WrestleMania

newrawlogo1By Jason Powell

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Detroit, Michigan at Joe Louis Arena

[Q1] Raw opened with a recap of Goldberg winning the WWE Universal Championship at Fastlane and his followup angle with Brock Lesnar from last week’s Raw… Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary…

Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their entrance. Heyman dropped to his knees and acted in awe of Lesnar performing an F5 on the “seemingly indestructible Goldberg.” Heyman laughed and said yes he did. He said the end result was “down goes Goldberg.” Heyman said not only can he see the future, but the vision has now been bestowed on all of the fans thanks to Lesnar.

Heyman said the future takes place at WrestleMania and Lesnar will make the announcers say “down goes Goldberg.” The fans chanted Goldberg’s name, causing Heyman to pause. Heyman said the interview was being cut short. “Ladies and gentlemen, Goldberg… is not here this evening,” Heyman said to boos. Heyman said his client is and this was his way to saying nicely to shut the hell up if you chant Goldberg.

Heyman said the resurrection of Goldberg will be put down at WrestleMania, and his vision of the future will be validated. Heyman said F5 equals “Lesnar goes up, down goes Goldberg.” Lesnar’s music played to end the segment. Cole said it’s funny to see what one F5 can do for a man’s confidence…

Powell’s POV: A strong promo by Heyman that was summed up nicely by Cole. I’m surprised they didn’t advertise the Lesnar appearance, and I’m even more surprised that they told viewers this early in the show that Goldberg would not appear.

Backstage, Mick Foley was shown standing around for no reason. Stephanie McMahon approached him and said, “Heyman is just so creepy.” Foley laughed. Stephanie said she was happy she could cut through their tension and make him laugh for a change. She said one of the first lessons she learned from her father was that things said in the heat of the moment can’t be taken personally.

Stephanie said she was willing to teach Foley if he was willing to learn. Foley was down. Stephanie told him to scour the Raw roster and determine the one person that he was going to fire. She said it was about trimming fat and sending a message of strong leadership. Foley looked saddened, yet said she could count on him…

Powell’s POV: Well, it can’t be Jack Swagger, who was on Smackdown before he was officially released today. I vote for Stephanie since there’s no need for two authority figures. I don’t think that’s what they have in mind. However, there is a chance that Foley could end up firing himself to set up his absence if he’s undergoing hip surgery soon.

[Q2] [C] 1. Sasha Banks (w/Bayley) vs. Dana Brooke (w/Charlotte). Sasha got a quick rollup win. Graves said she pulled the tights and it was another dishonest victory for Banks. Cole said Banks and Bayley were friendly here, but he questioned whether they would be at WrestleMania.

Sasha Banks beat Dana Brooke in 1:20. 

Charlotte scolded Brooke afterward, saying she doesn’t deserve to be by her side. She said she was finally getting rid of Brooke. “Actually, I’m gonna teach you…” Charlotte said, but she was interrupted by a punch from Brooke. Dana roughed up Charlotte at ringside and then rolled her back inside the ring. Charlotte fled back to ringside. Brooke held her by the hair. Charlotte broke free and Brooke got some “Dana” chants from the live crowd while Charlotte threw a fit at ringside…

Powell’s POV: Brooke wasn’t serving much of a purpose in Charlotte’s act these days and there is a shortage of healthy babyfaces in the Raw women’s division. In other words, this was a logical move and it was a pleasant surprise that it got over with the live crowd as well as it did.

Cole set up a video package on the Warrior Award and this year’s winner Eric LeGrand. The fans offered a nice round of applause after the video package aired…

Saxton hyped Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe for later in the show. Graves said Roman Reigns would respond to being chokeslammed by Undertaker… [C]

[Q3] As ring entrances for a cruiserweight tag match took place, Graves hyped Austin Aries vs. TJ Perkins vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese in a five-way elimination match for a title shot at WrestleMania will headline 205 Live.

2. Brian Kendrick and Tony Nese vs. Akira Tozawa and TJ Perkins. Nese jumped Tozawa from behind to start the match. Kendrick taunted Tozawa, who sent him to ringside. Tozawa performed a suicide dive on Kendrick. Nese walked over and took a huracanrana from Perkins. [C]

The heels worked over Tozawa, who tried to make a tag only to have Kendrick pull Perkins off the apron. Later, Perkins tagged in and performed a top rope DDT on Nese for a two count. Kendrick interfered from his corner only to eat a kick from Tozawa. Nese ran Perkins into Tozawa and rolled him up for the win…

Brian Kendrick and Tony Nese beat Akira Tozawa and TJ Perkins in 8:50.

Saxton hyped the tag team No. 1 contenders’ match… Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson about the contenders’ match. Anderson said he’s tired of everyone talking about the contenders instead of them. Gallows called them all nerds and told her to talk about them some place else…

[Q4] Kevin Owens made his entrance… [C]

Powell’s POV: The announcement of the five-way has me excited about 205 Live for a change. The last five-way elimination match they had was really fun and this one should be even better with Aries involved and the WrestleMania title shot on the line. The only negative is that Nese’s character has no business being in the match. He’s won a couple matches lately, but the guy has lost way more than he’s won and just shouldn’t be in the title mix for that reason. WWE seems well aware of this given that they felt the need to give him the win in this match.

Owens stood in the ring and boasted about taking the spotlight a month ago on this date and putting it right back where it belongs. A video recapped Owens attacking Chris Jericho during the Festival of Friendship. Owens said a lot of people are upset with him for betraying Jericho. He once again said he was never Jericho’s best friend.

Owens said he outsmarted Jericho, and now Jericho wants revenge. Owens said Jericho got him at Fastlane. Owens said Goldberg did not beat him, Jericho did at Fastlane. Owens said he is going to take the U.S. Title from Jericho just as Jericho took his title from him. “The only thing left of Y2J will be the tears of Jericho crying out, man,” Owens said. He asked who needs best friends when you have a destroyer. Samoa Joe made his entrance… [C] The babyfaces made their entrances…

[Q5] 3. Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn. Joe hit Zayn with an enziguiri and then tagged in Owens, who taunted Jericho with his own pose by flexing while covering Zayn with one foot. Owens knocked Jericho off the apron and then tagged in Joe. Zayn ended up performing a flip dive onto both heels at ringside. Zayn sold right knee pain.

Zayn brought Joe back to the ring and punched him while hobbling one leg. Owens clipped the leg. The heels put the boots to Zayn and the referee ended up disqualifying them. After the match, Jericho was about to put Owens in the Walls of Jericho when Joe hit him from behind. Joe held Jericho while Owens punched and kicked him. Referees tried to call them off. Owens powerbombed Jericho…

Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn beat Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens by DQ in 3:40.

Powell’s POV: Perfect from the standpoint that they didn’t give Jericho his revenge. They put more heat on the heels. I assume we will be seeing more of the same next week and perhaps Jericho getting the better of Owens on the go-home show without giving away too much. I just wish the U.S. Championship meant more. It feels like Owens merely wants it because Jericho cost him his title, not because it’s important to him.

Backstage, Stephanie offered to help Foley choose someone to fire. Foley said he would pick someone by the end of the night. She suggested Sami Zayn. Nia Jax entered the room and made her case for being in the title match at WrestleMania. Foley sounded like he was going to shoot her down, but Stephanie said she deserves to be in that conversation. Stephanie gave her a spotlight match against Bayley…

Saxton hyped Roman Reigns responding live later in the show… [C] Backstage, Jinder Mahal told Foley that Rusev was holding him back. He demanded an opponent. Foley cut him off and said he would face Roman Reigns…

[Q6] New Day hosted a “New Day Talks” segment backstage. They had a Jetsons DVD box propped up on a table in front of them. They introduced Big Show as their guest and noted that he was in the movie. They said Show has a chance to become the first ever two-time winner of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

Show hyped the movie until Titus O’Neil interrupted them. Titus said someone’s job is on the line and he didn’t care about being on their stupid talkshow. Titus asked Show why the Titus brand isn’t the star of the Jetsons movie. Show said he didn’t have control over it. Titus shoved him and told him to get some control over it. Show looked pissed. New Day wrapped up the segment…

Saxton hyped the No. 1 contenders’ match for a shot at the tag titles… [C]

Powell’s POV: So much for Big Show vs. Shaq at WrestleMania. I feel bad for Show, but I can’t say I was looking forward to Show vs. Shaq. The final moments of the battle royal could be entertaining if Braun Strowman joins Show in the match.

Enzo Amore and Big Cass made their entrance and delivered their pre-match mic schtick. Once in the ring, Enzo said they had a gift for Cesaro, who spilled his coffee during their match. “It was a “cuppa haters” coffee mug. Enzo said there are only two types of men in the world, and Sheamus and Cesaro are neither one of them. Cass said they are bracket busters and they are the Cinderella story. Sheamus and Cesaro made their entrance…

4. Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Sheamus and Cesaro for a Raw Tag Title shot at WrestleMania. Cesaro dropkicked Cass when the bell rang. Cass came right back with a side slam. Anderson and Gallows were shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Cass slammed Enzo onto Sheamus for a cover, but Cesaro broke it up going into the break.

[Q7] [C]] Enzo was isolated. He eventually caught Cesaro with an enzuigiri and tagged in Cass. Sheamus made a blind tag and caught Cass with a clothesline off the ropes. Cass came back with a big boot that took him and Sheamus to the floor. Gallows and Anderson attacked both teams for the apparent no-contest.

Enzo Amore and Big Cass fought Sheamus and Cesaro to an apparent no-contest in 8:00.

Powell’s POV: Gallows and Anderson just couldn’t act interested in this match any longer and had to attack both of their challengers. So what if they have to face them both in a Triple Threat at WrestleMania, at least the No. 1 contenders match didn’t drag on any longer.

Cole set up footage of Braun Strowman calling out Roman Reigns last week only to have Undertaker appear instead. They also showed Strowman leaving the ring, then Reigns confronting Taker… A shot aired of Roman Reigns backstage. Cole said he would be in action… [C]

Backstage, Foley confronted Anderson and Gallows and booked them in a Triple Threat match at WrestleMania against Sheamus & Cesaro and Enzo & Cass…

[Q8] Roman Reigns made his entrance to the usual reaction. Jinder Mahal was already in the ring. The broadcast team hyped Undertaker vs. Reigns for WrestleMania…

5. Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal. Roman threw a bunch of clothesline at Jinder in the corner. Taker’s gong sounded. Reigns stopped what he was doing and looked to the stage. When he turned back, Jinder caught him with a running knee. Jinder slammed him for a two count. Reigns battled back and hit the Superman Punch for the win…

Roman Reigns beat Jinder Mahal in 2:55.

After the match, Reigns took the mic and told the crowd the replay showed that he’s not messing around. Reigns called for Undertaker to come out like a man… [C]

Powell’s POV: If the first tease for Taker didn’t kill the crowd, the second tease just might if he doesn’t show up. My guess is this leads to Strowman coming out instead.

Shawn Michaels’ music played. So much for killing the crowd, which popped big. Michaels made his entrance wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a cowboy hat. Reigns said he wasn’t going to lie, it was cool to see Michaels. He paused as the fans chanted HBK. Reigns said it goes without saying that Detroit loves him. Reigns said he didn’t call out HBK, he called out Undertaker.

Michaels said he saw what happened last week and he saw what happened when the gong went off. “You are distracted and unfocussed,” Michaels said. “This far out of WrestleMania and he has already set up shop in that head of yours. Come WrestleMania, he’s going to eat you alive.”

Reigns said that’s not happening. The fans booed. Reigns said people ask him what it’s going to be like for him to be in the ring with Undertaker. “Maybe the Undertaker should be thinking what it’s going to be like to be in the ring with me,” Reigns said.

Michaels said he knows what it’s like to walk around with a huge chip on your shoulder, as well as the weight and pressure of the company. He said he knows what’s it’s like to have everyone secretly hope you fail. Michaels said he wasn’t there to get confrontational, he was on Roman’s side. Fans booed.

Reigns said he appreciated the advice. “But with all due respect, the Undertaker retired you,” Reigns said. “And I’m the guy that’s gonna retire him.” Reigns dropped his mic and left the ring. Roman’s music played to end the segment, leaving Michaels in the ring.

[Q9] Reigns made it up the ramp and turned back. Braun Strowman ran out and knocked Reigns down in between the ramp and the barricade. Strowman told Michaels if he wanted to do that to him then he would. The fans chanted “Thank you, Strowman.” Reigns eventually got up and sat on the stage while referees checked on him and fans chanted HBK…

Backstage, Stephanie talked with Foley about the firing. He said he wasn’t taking it lightly and he was hoping he could talk her out of it. Stephanie said he was thinking with his heart rather than his head. She said it was for his personal and professional growth. Foley didn’t like the idea of someone losing a job before WrestleMania. Stephanie said he had an hour to make the decision or she would make it for him. She said that if she decides it might be something he doesn’t like…

The broadcast team set up a recap of Austin Aries and Neville from Raw, and of Aries beating Tony Nese on 205 Live. Graves hyped Aries vs. Ariya Daivari for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: The appearance of Michaels was a nice surprise and he was a logical fit given his history with Reigns. As much as I would love to think that Roman coming off a bit heelish on the mic means he’s turning, he hasn’t done anything yet that they can’t chalk up as a case of him being confident going into his match. Meanwhile, I’m already losing patience with Foley. Firing someone isn’t easy, but I think most fans would have an easier time with this decision than his character is.

6. Austin Aries vs. Ariya Daivari. Cole plugged the five-way elimination match for 205 Live. Neville was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor.

[Q10] Aries performed a shinbreaker into a suplex. Daivari landed awkwardly from the suplex, but he was able to finish the match. In the end, Aries performed the rolling elbow for the win…

Austin Aries pinned Ariya Daivari in 3:50.

Powell’s POV: Daivari actually appeared to avoid landing on his head and instead took the fall more on his shoulder and side. It looked scary live, but hopefully he’s fine. It was another showcase in for Aries. The footage of Neville watching the match is foreshadowing the expected WrestleMania match a little more than I would like.

The broadcast team recapped the match and then set up footage of last week’s Lesnar and Goldberg segment… The broadcast team hyped Bayley vs. Nia Jax for later in the show… [C] The latest Emma video aired. She’s still listed as coming soon…

7. Big Show vs. Titus O’Neil. Both men received televised entrances. Yes, really, Titus too. Graves once again talked about the new mean streak of Titus, who was once again pinned, this time after a chokeslam…

Big Show pinned Titus O’Neil in 1:50.

Saxton set up the latest Women’s History Month video. Billie Jean King was featured…

Backstage, Bayley told Sasha that being hit by Nia Jax felt like being hit by a truck. Sasha agreed, then told Bayley not to listen to the haters. Bayley wasn’t sure what she was talking about. Sasha said the haters say she’s not championship worthy. Sasha and Bayley shook hands…

Powell’s POV: The question now is whether we’ll look back on these Sasha moments as the setup for her turn or as something they play off as coincidences if she doesn’t turn. My guess is we get a heel “Boss” run coming out of WrestleMania.

[Q11] [C] The WrestleMania video aired. We are 20 days away… The broadcast team spoke while standing behind their desk. They hyped Goldberg vs. Lesnar for the Universal Championship, and Taker vs. Reigns. Cole pimped the WWE Network free trial. They shifted to recapping the Joe and Owens vs. Jericho and Zayn match…

Backstage, Jericho was icing his neck when Mike Rome entered the room with a microphone. Jericho announced that “the real” Kevin Owens will be his special guest next week. Jericho said everyone is going to want to watch. Jericho paused and then Rome said it. Jericho called him Tom. Rome informed him that Philips is on Smackdown Live. Jericho asked if he knows what happens when he doesn’t even know his own name. Jericho put him on The List…

Powell’s POV: The live crowd was happy to see the return of The List. It was okay, but it felt a little odd to have Jericho clown around when he’s in the middle of a feud with such a serious tone. My guess is the logic behind it is to keep Jericho doing the things that made the fans like him during his heel run. By the way, could you blame Jericho’s character for not knowing the names of the backstage interviewers? They rarely bother to even mention their names.

8. Raw Women’s Champion Bayley vs. Nia Jax in a non-title match. Jax tossed Bayley to the mat and she bounced to ringside. Jax followed and headbutted her on the floor. Jax tossed her back inside the ring. Bayley fired back with a couple of kicks. Jax dumped the ring steps on their side and stood on the apron heading into the break. [C]

[Q12] Footage aired of Jax continuing to dominate. Cole said this match is all about Jax not being in the WrestleMania match. Bayley made a brief comeback. She dove off the second rope and Jax caught her. Bayley elbowed her away free. She went for a guillotine, but Jax picked her up and tossed her away.

Jax put Bayley in a bearhug and dropped her on the top rope. In the end, Jax ignored the referee’s ten count while roughing up Bayley in a corner of the ring. Afterward, Jax tossed Bayley into the ringside barricade. Cole said it was all about making a statement…

Bayley beat Nia Jax by DQ in 7:50.

Powell’s POV: The real message wasn’t from Jax. The real message was that Stephanie is smarter than everyone again, as she booked Jax against Bayley knowing that Jax would rough up the champion that Stephanie dislikes.

Graves hyped the 205 Live main event. Saxton hyped Jericho interviewing “the real” Kevin Owens on The Highlight Reel next week… Footage aired of Braun Strowman attacking Roman Reigns. Cole announced Reigns vs. Strowman for next week’s Raw in Brooklyn…

Stephanie McMahon stood in the ring and recapped how she gave Foley the chance of a lifetime by having him fire someone. Foley headed to the ring. Stephanie told him he looked pretty nimble. She asked who the fat she was going to cut off the bone by firing.

Foley said he couldn’t think of anyone who deserved to be terminated, but then about ten minutes ago a name jumped off the page at him. Foley thanked her for giving him the assignment, saying it will make him a better manager and person, and a more enjoyable Raw. Stephanie said she was proud and asked who that person was.

Foley announced Stephanie McMahon as the person he was firing. The fans popped big and chanted Yes! Stephanie said it’s not within Foley’s power to fire her. She said she wanted a name. Foley got worked up and said she treats the talent like chattel. He said they are human beings and she deserves to be fired.

[Overrun] Foley said he was looking in the eyes of a liar and a really bad person. “You need to do,” Foley said. Stephanie asked what happened to his fortitude. Foley said he would not be silenced and started to say something about her husband.

Triple H made his entrance. Hunter told Foley if he had something to say, say it to his face. Foley said he’d be happy to, he thought Hunter just hid in the shadows. Hunter said no one can find him, yet he’s everywhere. He questioned if they really look for him. He said he’s running a business. Hunter said he doesn’t want a lawsuit or he would rip off Foley’s “bad in need of a hip replacement leg” and beat him with it.

Foley questioned whether Hunter would do it if he would have Samoa Joe do it. Hunter said he never would have brought Foley back. Foley said he works so hard on the future so that he doesn’t have to look at pathetic has-beens like Foley. Hunter said Stephanie has a heart and is amused by Foley and actually likes him.

Hunter said Foley shouldn’t mistake Stephanie’s heart for a lack of being able to do what it takes. Hunter talked over what sounded like CM Punk chants by saying Foley was a step away from traveling around the globe and telling his stories about who he used to be. Foley said the Raw wrestlers like and respect him. Foley said that unlike them, he doesn’t have to pretend to like Triple H.

Hunter brought up Foley’s family, including Dewey Foley, who works at the office. Hunter said maybe Foley could give Dewey a ride to the unemployment office. Hunter asked if it was pulling on his heart strings. Hunter told him to tuck his tail between his legs “and waddle up that ramp.” Hunter said he needed to have a life altering epiphany and suddenly love his job. Hunter said that when Stephanie tells him to jump, “you damn well jump, monkey.”

Triple H ordered Foley to get the hell out of his ring. Foley put the mic down and started to leave. Stephanie said this should be a lesson to all of the fans. Foley stopped in the corner as she told the fans to thank their bosses for giving them an opportunity. Hunter noticed Foley was still in the corner and approached him from behind. Foley had Mr. Socko on his hand and applied the Mandible Claw. The fans popped. Stephanie low-blowed Foley.

Hunter rolled up his sleeves and was ready to attack Foley. Seth Rollins’ music played and he hobbled out on one crutch. Once Rollins was at the bottom of the ramp, Hunter spread his arms out and motioned for Rollins to enter the ring. Rollins smiled and then dropped the crutch.

Rollins removed his jacket and showed off a “Kingslayer” t-shirt. Rollins entered the ring and got the better of a series of punches thrown by both men. Rollins kicked Hunter, then dropkicked him out of the ring. The fans chanted “Rollins” while he played to the them. Hunter picked up the crutch and smiled.

Hunter returned to the ring with the crutch, but Rollins punched him again and then threw more punches. Rollins ran the ropes. Hunter hit his bad knee with the crutch and then did it a second time. Hunter removed his shirt and then applied a leg lock. Several referees ran out and tried to talk Hunter down. Triple H released the hold, then struck Rollins with the crutch. Rollins sold his knee, which was in a brace, to close the show…

Powell’s POV: An excellent final angle. This was the best that Rollins has come off as a babyface and the Kingslayer shirt was a nice touch (especially if you dig Game of Thrones). Foley and Stephanie also delivered strong performances and this was definitely the highlight of the night. It was good to show that Rollins is healthy. Sure, they did another injury angle, but fans know he’ll be there now regardless of how they try to frame it next week. I can’t help but wonder how this show will perform in the ratings given that they only thing they hyped was the tag team contenders’ match. I know they like surprises, but why not at least hype Stephanie ordering Foley to fire someone? I will have more to say about the show in my members’ exclusive audio review later tonight. Be sure to join me for live coverage of Smackdown (filling in for Jake Barnett) and stick around afterward for Zack Zimmerman’s live review of 205 Live.

Readers Comments (1)

  1. Just have to say, for me personally, it makes no difference whatsoever about the angle as long as Stephanie is a part of it. She must go, get off tv. She is an automatic channel changer for me. I can’t believe I’m alone. It’s so old and overplayed.

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3/13 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass for a tag title shot at WrestleMania

newrawlogo1By Jason Powell

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Detroit, Michigan at Joe Louis Arena

[Q1] Raw opened with a recap of Goldberg winning the WWE Universal Championship at Fastlane and his followup angle with Brock Lesnar from last week’s Raw… Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary…

Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their entrance. Heyman dropped to his knees and acted in awe of Lesnar performing an F5 on the “seemingly indestructible Goldberg.” Heyman laughed and said yes he did. He said the end result was “down goes Goldberg.” Heyman said not only can he see the future, but the vision has now been bestowed on all of the fans thanks to Lesnar.

Heyman said the future takes place at WrestleMania and Lesnar will make the announcers say “down goes Goldberg.” The fans chanted Goldberg’s name, causing Heyman to pause. Heyman said the interview was being cut short. “Ladies and gentlemen, Goldberg… is not here this evening,” Heyman said to boos. Heyman said his client is and this was his way to saying nicely to shut the hell up if you chant Goldberg.

Heyman said the resurrection of Goldberg will be put down at WrestleMania, and his vision of the future will be validated. Heyman said F5 equals “Lesnar goes up, down goes Goldberg.” Lesnar’s music played to end the segment. Cole said it’s funny to see what one F5 can do for a man’s confidence…

Powell’s POV: A strong promo by Heyman that was summed up nicely by Cole. I’m surprised they didn’t advertise the Lesnar appearance, and I’m even more surprised that they told viewers this early in the show that Goldberg would not appear.

Backstage, Mick Foley was shown standing around for no reason. Stephanie McMahon approached him and said, “Heyman is just so creepy.” Foley laughed. Stephanie said she was happy she could cut through their tension and make him laugh for a change. She said one of the first lessons she learned from her father was that things said in the heat of the moment can’t be taken personally.

Stephanie said she was willing to teach Foley if he was willing to learn. Foley was down. Stephanie told him to scour the Raw roster and determine the one person that he was going to fire. She said it was about trimming fat and sending a message of strong leadership. Foley looked saddened, yet said she could count on him…

Powell’s POV: Well, it can’t be Jack Swagger, who was on Smackdown before he was officially released today. I vote for Stephanie since there’s no need for two authority figures. I don’t think that’s what they have in mind. However, there is a chance that Foley could end up firing himself to set up his absence if he’s undergoing hip surgery soon.

[Q2] [C] 1. Sasha Banks (w/Bayley) vs. Dana Brooke (w/Charlotte). Sasha got a quick rollup win. Graves said she pulled the tights and it was another dishonest victory for Banks. Cole said Banks and Bayley were friendly here, but he questioned whether they would be at WrestleMania.

Sasha Banks beat Dana Brooke in 1:20. 

Charlotte scolded Brooke afterward, saying she doesn’t deserve to be by her side. She said she was finally getting rid of Brooke. “Actually, I’m gonna teach you…” Charlotte said, but she was interrupted by a punch from Brooke. Dana roughed up Charlotte at ringside and then rolled her back inside the ring. Charlotte fled back to ringside. Brooke held her by the hair. Charlotte broke free and Brooke got some “Dana” chants from the live crowd while Charlotte threw a fit at ringside…

Powell’s POV: Brooke wasn’t serving much of a purpose in Charlotte’s act these days and there is a shortage of healthy babyfaces in the Raw women’s division. In other words, this was a logical move and it was a pleasant surprise that it got over with the live crowd as well as it did.

Cole set up a video package on the Warrior Award and this year’s winner Eric LeGrand. The fans offered a nice round of applause after the video package aired…

Saxton hyped Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe for later in the show. Graves said Roman Reigns would respond to being chokeslammed by Undertaker… [C]

[Q3] As ring entrances for a cruiserweight tag match took place, Graves hyped Austin Aries vs. TJ Perkins vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese in a five-way elimination match for a title shot at WrestleMania will headline 205 Live.

2. Brian Kendrick and Tony Nese vs. Akira Tozawa and TJ Perkins. Nese jumped Tozawa from behind to start the match. Kendrick taunted Tozawa, who sent him to ringside. Tozawa performed a suicide dive on Kendrick. Nese walked over and took a huracanrana from Perkins. [C]

The heels worked over Tozawa, who tried to make a tag only to have Kendrick pull Perkins off the apron. Later, Perkins tagged in and performed a top rope DDT on Nese for a two count. Kendrick interfered from his corner only to eat a kick from Tozawa. Nese ran Perkins into Tozawa and rolled him up for the win…

Brian Kendrick and Tony Nese beat Akira Tozawa and TJ Perkins in 8:50.

Saxton hyped the tag team No. 1 contenders’ match… Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson about the contenders’ match. Anderson said he’s tired of everyone talking about the contenders instead of them. Gallows called them all nerds and told her to talk about them some place else…

[Q4] Kevin Owens made his entrance… [C]

Powell’s POV: The announcement of the five-way has me excited about 205 Live for a change. The last five-way elimination match they had was really fun and this one should be even better with Aries involved and the WrestleMania title shot on the line. The only negative is that Nese’s character has no business being in the match. He’s won a couple matches lately, but the guy has lost way more than he’s won and just shouldn’t be in the title mix for that reason. WWE seems well aware of this given that they felt the need to give him the win in this match.

Owens stood in the ring and boasted about taking the spotlight a month ago on this date and putting it right back where it belongs. A video recapped Owens attacking Chris Jericho during the Festival of Friendship. Owens said a lot of people are upset with him for betraying Jericho. He once again said he was never Jericho’s best friend.

Owens said he outsmarted Jericho, and now Jericho wants revenge. Owens said Jericho got him at Fastlane. Owens said Goldberg did not beat him, Jericho did at Fastlane. Owens said he is going to take the U.S. Title from Jericho just as Jericho took his title from him. “The only thing left of Y2J will be the tears of Jericho crying out, man,” Owens said. He asked who needs best friends when you have a destroyer. Samoa Joe made his entrance… [C] The babyfaces made their entrances…

[Q5] 3. Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn. Joe hit Zayn with an enziguiri and then tagged in Owens, who taunted Jericho with his own pose by flexing while covering Zayn with one foot. Owens knocked Jericho off the apron and then tagged in Joe. Zayn ended up performing a flip dive onto both heels at ringside. Zayn sold right knee pain.

Zayn brought Joe back to the ring and punched him while hobbling one leg. Owens clipped the leg. The heels put the boots to Zayn and the referee ended up disqualifying them. After the match, Jericho was about to put Owens in the Walls of Jericho when Joe hit him from behind. Joe held Jericho while Owens punched and kicked him. Referees tried to call them off. Owens powerbombed Jericho…

Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn beat Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens by DQ in 3:40.

Powell’s POV: Perfect from the standpoint that they didn’t give Jericho his revenge. They put more heat on the heels. I assume we will be seeing more of the same next week and perhaps Jericho getting the better of Owens on the go-home show without giving away too much. I just wish the U.S. Championship meant more. It feels like Owens merely wants it because Jericho cost him his title, not because it’s important to him.

Backstage, Stephanie offered to help Foley choose someone to fire. Foley said he would pick someone by the end of the night. She suggested Sami Zayn. Nia Jax entered the room and made her case for being in the title match at WrestleMania. Foley sounded like he was going to shoot her down, but Stephanie said she deserves to be in that conversation. Stephanie gave her a spotlight match against Bayley…

Saxton hyped Roman Reigns responding live later in the show… [C] Backstage, Jinder Mahal told Foley that Rusev was holding him back. He demanded an opponent. Foley cut him off and said he would face Roman Reigns…

[Q6] New Day hosted a “New Day Talks” segment backstage. They had a Jetsons DVD box propped up on a table in front of them. They introduced Big Show as their guest and noted that he was in the movie. They said Show has a chance to become the first ever two-time winner of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

Show hyped the movie until Titus O’Neil interrupted them. Titus said someone’s job is on the line and he didn’t care about being on their stupid talkshow. Titus asked Show why the Titus brand isn’t the star of the Jetsons movie. Show said he didn’t have control over it. Titus shoved him and told him to get some control over it. Show looked pissed. New Day wrapped up the segment…

Saxton hyped the No. 1 contenders’ match for a shot at the tag titles… [C]

Powell’s POV: So much for Big Show vs. Shaq at WrestleMania. I feel bad for Show, but I can’t say I was looking forward to Show vs. Shaq. The final moments of the battle royal could be entertaining if Braun Strowman joins Show in the match.

Enzo Amore and Big Cass made their entrance and delivered their pre-match mic schtick. Once in the ring, Enzo said they had a gift for Cesaro, who spilled his coffee during their match. “It was a “cuppa haters” coffee mug. Enzo said there are only two types of men in the world, and Sheamus and Cesaro are neither one of them. Cass said they are bracket busters and they are the Cinderella story. Sheamus and Cesaro made their entrance…

4. Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Sheamus and Cesaro for a Raw Tag Title shot at WrestleMania. Cesaro dropkicked Cass when the bell rang. Cass came right back with a side slam. Anderson and Gallows were shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Cass slammed Enzo onto Sheamus for a cover, but Cesaro broke it up going into the break.

[Q7] [C]] Enzo was isolated. He eventually caught Cesaro with an enzuigiri and tagged in Cass. Sheamus made a blind tag and caught Cass with a clothesline off the ropes. Cass came back with a big boot that took him and Sheamus to the floor. Gallows and Anderson attacked both teams for the apparent no-contest.

Enzo Amore and Big Cass fought Sheamus and Cesaro to an apparent no-contest in 8:00.

Powell’s POV: Gallows and Anderson just couldn’t act interested in this match any longer and had to attack both of their challengers. So what if they have to face them both in a Triple Threat at WrestleMania, at least the No. 1 contenders match didn’t drag on any longer.

Cole set up footage of Braun Strowman calling out Roman Reigns last week only to have Undertaker appear instead. They also showed Strowman leaving the ring, then Reigns confronting Taker… A shot aired of Roman Reigns backstage. Cole said he would be in action… [C]

Backstage, Foley confronted Anderson and Gallows and booked them in a Triple Threat match at WrestleMania against Sheamus & Cesaro and Enzo & Cass…

[Q8] Roman Reigns made his entrance to the usual reaction. Jinder Mahal was already in the ring. The broadcast team hyped Undertaker vs. Reigns for WrestleMania…

5. Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal. Roman threw a bunch of clothesline at Jinder in the corner. Taker’s gong sounded. Reigns stopped what he was doing and looked to the stage. When he turned back, Jinder caught him with a running knee. Jinder slammed him for a two count. Reigns battled back and hit the Superman Punch for the win…

Roman Reigns beat Jinder Mahal in 2:55.

After the match, Reigns took the mic and told the crowd the replay showed that he’s not messing around. Reigns called for Undertaker to come out like a man… [C]

Powell’s POV: If the first tease for Taker didn’t kill the crowd, the second tease just might if he doesn’t show up. My guess is this leads to Strowman coming out instead.

Shawn Michaels’ music played. So much for killing the crowd, which popped big. Michaels made his entrance wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a cowboy hat. Reigns said he wasn’t going to lie, it was cool to see Michaels. He paused as the fans chanted HBK. Reigns said it goes without saying that Detroit loves him. Reigns said he didn’t call out HBK, he called out Undertaker.

Michaels said he saw what happened last week and he saw what happened when the gong went off. “You are distracted and unfocussed,” Michaels said. “This far out of WrestleMania and he has already set up shop in that head of yours. Come WrestleMania, he’s going to eat you alive.”

Reigns said that’s not happening. The fans booed. Reigns said people ask him what it’s going to be like for him to be in the ring with Undertaker. “Maybe the Undertaker should be thinking what it’s going to be like to be in the ring with me,” Reigns said.

Michaels said he knows what it’s like to walk around with a huge chip on your shoulder, as well as the weight and pressure of the company. He said he knows what’s it’s like to have everyone secretly hope you fail. Michaels said he wasn’t there to get confrontational, he was on Roman’s side. Fans booed.

Reigns said he appreciated the advice. “But with all due respect, the Undertaker retired you,” Reigns said. “And I’m the guy that’s gonna retire him.” Reigns dropped his mic and left the ring. Roman’s music played to end the segment, leaving Michaels in the ring.

[Q9] Reigns made it up the ramp and turned back. Braun Strowman ran out and knocked Reigns down in between the ramp and the barricade. Strowman told Michaels if he wanted to do that to him then he would. The fans chanted “Thank you, Strowman.” Reigns eventually got up and sat on the stage while referees checked on him and fans chanted HBK…

Backstage, Stephanie talked with Foley about the firing. He said he wasn’t taking it lightly and he was hoping he could talk her out of it. Stephanie said he was thinking with his heart rather than his head. She said it was for his personal and professional growth. Foley didn’t like the idea of someone losing a job before WrestleMania. Stephanie said he had an hour to make the decision or she would make it for him. She said that if she decides it might be something he doesn’t like…

The broadcast team set up a recap of Austin Aries and Neville from Raw, and of Aries beating Tony Nese on 205 Live. Graves hyped Aries vs. Ariya Daivari for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: The appearance of Michaels was a nice surprise and he was a logical fit given his history with Reigns. As much as I would love to think that Roman coming off a bit heelish on the mic means he’s turning, he hasn’t done anything yet that they can’t chalk up as a case of him being confident going into his match. Meanwhile, I’m already losing patience with Foley. Firing someone isn’t easy, but I think most fans would have an easier time with this decision than his character is.

6. Austin Aries vs. Ariya Daivari. Cole plugged the five-way elimination match for 205 Live. Neville was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor.

[Q10] Aries performed a shinbreaker into a suplex. Daivari landed awkwardly from the suplex, but he was able to finish the match. In the end, Aries performed the rolling elbow for the win…

Austin Aries pinned Ariya Daivari in 3:50.

Powell’s POV: Daivari actually appeared to avoid landing on his head and instead took the fall more on his shoulder and side. It looked scary live, but hopefully he’s fine. It was another showcase in for Aries. The footage of Neville watching the match is foreshadowing the expected WrestleMania match a little more than I would like.

The broadcast team recapped the match and then set up footage of last week’s Lesnar and Goldberg segment… The broadcast team hyped Bayley vs. Nia Jax for later in the show… [C] The latest Emma video aired. She’s still listed as coming soon…

7. Big Show vs. Titus O’Neil. Both men received televised entrances. Yes, really, Titus too. Graves once again talked about the new mean streak of Titus, who was once again pinned, this time after a chokeslam…

Big Show pinned Titus O’Neil in 1:50.

Saxton set up the latest Women’s History Month video. Billie Jean King was featured…

Backstage, Bayley told Sasha that being hit by Nia Jax felt like being hit by a truck. Sasha agreed, then told Bayley not to listen to the haters. Bayley wasn’t sure what she was talking about. Sasha said the haters say she’s not championship worthy. Sasha and Bayley shook hands…

Powell’s POV: The question now is whether we’ll look back on these Sasha moments as the setup for her turn or as something they play off as coincidences if she doesn’t turn. My guess is we get a heel “Boss” run coming out of WrestleMania.

[Q11] [C] The WrestleMania video aired. We are 20 days away… The broadcast team spoke while standing behind their desk. They hyped Goldberg vs. Lesnar for the Universal Championship, and Taker vs. Reigns. Cole pimped the WWE Network free trial. They shifted to recapping the Joe and Owens vs. Jericho and Zayn match…

Backstage, Jericho was icing his neck when Mike Rome entered the room with a microphone. Jericho announced that “the real” Kevin Owens will be his special guest next week. Jericho said everyone is going to want to watch. Jericho paused and then Rome said it. Jericho called him Tom. Rome informed him that Philips is on Smackdown Live. Jericho asked if he knows what happens when he doesn’t even know his own name. Jericho put him on The List…

Powell’s POV: The live crowd was happy to see the return of The List. It was okay, but it felt a little odd to have Jericho clown around when he’s in the middle of a feud with such a serious tone. My guess is the logic behind it is to keep Jericho doing the things that made the fans like him during his heel run. By the way, could you blame Jericho’s character for not knowing the names of the backstage interviewers? They rarely bother to even mention their names.

8. Raw Women’s Champion Bayley vs. Nia Jax in a non-title match. Jax tossed Bayley to the mat and she bounced to ringside. Jax followed and headbutted her on the floor. Jax tossed her back inside the ring. Bayley fired back with a couple of kicks. Jax dumped the ring steps on their side and stood on the apron heading into the break. [C]

[Q12] Footage aired of Jax continuing to dominate. Cole said this match is all about Jax not being in the WrestleMania match. Bayley made a brief comeback. She dove off the second rope and Jax caught her. Bayley elbowed her away free. She went for a guillotine, but Jax picked her up and tossed her away.

Jax put Bayley in a bearhug and dropped her on the top rope. In the end, Jax ignored the referee’s ten count while roughing up Bayley in a corner of the ring. Afterward, Jax tossed Bayley into the ringside barricade. Cole said it was all about making a statement…

Bayley beat Nia Jax by DQ in 7:50.

Powell’s POV: The real message wasn’t from Jax. The real message was that Stephanie is smarter than everyone again, as she booked Jax against Bayley knowing that Jax would rough up the champion that Stephanie dislikes.

Graves hyped the 205 Live main event. Saxton hyped Jericho interviewing “the real” Kevin Owens on The Highlight Reel next week… Footage aired of Braun Strowman attacking Roman Reigns. Cole announced Reigns vs. Strowman for next week’s Raw in Brooklyn…

Stephanie McMahon stood in the ring and recapped how she gave Foley the chance of a lifetime by having him fire someone. Foley headed to the ring. Stephanie told him he looked pretty nimble. She asked who the fat she was going to cut off the bone by firing.

Foley said he couldn’t think of anyone who deserved to be terminated, but then about ten minutes ago a name jumped off the page at him. Foley thanked her for giving him the assignment, saying it will make him a better manager and person, and a more enjoyable Raw. Stephanie said she was proud and asked who that person was.

Foley announced Stephanie McMahon as the person he was firing. The fans popped big and chanted Yes! Stephanie said it’s not within Foley’s power to fire her. She said she wanted a name. Foley got worked up and said she treats the talent like chattel. He said they are human beings and she deserves to be fired.

[Overrun] Foley said he was looking in the eyes of a liar and a really bad person. “You need to do,” Foley said. Stephanie asked what happened to his fortitude. Foley said he would not be silenced and started to say something about her husband.

Triple H made his entrance. Hunter told Foley if he had something to say, say it to his face. Foley said he’d be happy to, he thought Hunter just hid in the shadows. Hunter said no one can find him, yet he’s everywhere. He questioned if they really look for him. He said he’s running a business. Hunter said he doesn’t want a lawsuit or he would rip off Foley’s “bad in need of a hip replacement leg” and beat him with it.

Foley questioned whether Hunter would do it if he would have Samoa Joe do it. Hunter said he never would have brought Foley back. Foley said he works so hard on the future so that he doesn’t have to look at pathetic has-beens like Foley. Hunter said Stephanie has a heart and is amused by Foley and actually likes him.

Hunter said Foley shouldn’t mistake Stephanie’s heart for a lack of being able to do what it takes. Hunter talked over what sounded like CM Punk chants by saying Foley was a step away from traveling around the globe and telling his stories about who he used to be. Foley said the Raw wrestlers like and respect him. Foley said that unlike them, he doesn’t have to pretend to like Triple H.

Hunter brought up Foley’s family, including Dewey Foley, who works at the office. Hunter said maybe Foley could give Dewey a ride to the unemployment office. Hunter asked if it was pulling on his heart strings. Hunter told him to tuck his tail between his legs “and waddle up that ramp.” Hunter said he needed to have a life altering epiphany and suddenly love his job. Hunter said that when Stephanie tells him to jump, “you damn well jump, monkey.”

Triple H ordered Foley to get the hell out of his ring. Foley put the mic down and started to leave. Stephanie said this should be a lesson to all of the fans. Foley stopped in the corner as she told the fans to thank their bosses for giving them an opportunity. Hunter noticed Foley was still in the corner and approached him from behind. Foley had Mr. Socko on his hand and applied the Mandible Claw. The fans popped. Stephanie low-blowed Foley.

Hunter rolled up his sleeves and was ready to attack Foley. Seth Rollins’ music played and he hobbled out on one crutch. Once Rollins was at the bottom of the ramp, Hunter spread his arms out and motioned for Rollins to enter the ring. Rollins smiled and then dropped the crutch.

Rollins removed his jacket and showed off a “Kingslayer” t-shirt. Rollins entered the ring and got the better of a series of punches thrown by both men. Rollins kicked Hunter, then dropkicked him out of the ring. The fans chanted “Rollins” while he played to the them. Hunter picked up the crutch and smiled.

Hunter returned to the ring with the crutch, but Rollins punched him again and then threw more punches. Rollins ran the ropes. Hunter hit his bad knee with the crutch and then did it a second time. Hunter removed his shirt and then applied a leg lock. Several referees ran out and tried to talk Hunter down. Triple H released the hold, then struck Rollins with the crutch. Rollins sold his knee, which was in a brace, to close the show…

Powell’s POV: An excellent final angle. This was the best that Rollins has come off as a babyface and the Kingslayer shirt was a nice touch (especially if you dig Game of Thrones). Foley and Stephanie also delivered strong performances and this was definitely the highlight of the night. It was good to show that Rollins is healthy. Sure, they did another injury angle, but fans know he’ll be there now regardless of how they try to frame it next week. I can’t help but wonder how this show will perform in the ratings given that they only thing they hyped was the tag team contenders’ match. I know they like surprises, but why not at least hype Stephanie ordering Foley to fire someone? I will have more to say about the show in my members’ exclusive audio review later tonight. Be sure to join me for live coverage of Smackdown (filling in for Jake Barnett) and stick around afterward for Zack Zimmerman’s live review of 205 Live.

  1. Tim says:

    Just have to say, for me personally, it makes no difference whatsoever about the angle as long as Stephanie is a part of it. She must go, get off tv. She is an automatic channel changer for me. I can’t believe I’m alone. It’s so old and overplayed.

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