By Jason Powell
ATTENTION APP USERS: If you are reading this on the Prowrestling.net app, our mobile website will refresh more frequently than the latest updates than the app will. CLICK HERE to see the very latest updates to this article throughout the show.
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Chicago, Illinois at Allstate Arena
[Q1] A recap aired of the Vince McMahon and Undertaker angle from last week… Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton were on commentary…
Shane McMahon’s music hit and he made his usual entrance complete with the goofy dance on the stage. Cole said the venue was sold out. Shane headed to the ring for a promo and stopped to listen to a “Shane-O-Mac” chant and to soak up the cheers. Shane told the fans their reaction was overwhelming. Shane thanked the fans and said he missed them.
Shane said he was watching Raw last week on his couch with his sons. He said he heard from Undertaker and noted that he has the utmost respects for him. Shane said he heard Vince announce that he was writing him out of his will and renouncing him as his son. Shane said he looked to his sons and said they should give him the father of the year award.
Shane said Vince is an egomaniacal, miserable, old bastard. Shane said Vince has lost touch with his business, his fan base, reality, his son, and his grandson. Shane said everything Vince said fuels him. Shane said it is his destiny to be in control of Monday Night Raw. The fans chanted “Yes!”
Shane said Vince’s grasp and The Authority will stop. He said all of the backstabbing and backstage politics will stop “because it is choking the life out of this business.” Shane said there are so many guys with so much talent that never get breaks. He said he sees the guys who get all the breaks and have no talent. Shane said that will stop.
“At WrestleMania, I don’t know how I’m going to do it yet, but it is my destiny to beat The Undertaker,” Shane said. He said it will be a new era when he walks out the next night in control of Monday Night Raw.
Undertaker’s gong sounded and the crowd went nuts. However, Vince’s music played and he strutted onto the stage instead. “Disappointed?” Vince cracked. “I’ll bet you are.” The fans chanted “asshole” at Vince, who acted like he was conducting them. When the fans stopped, Vince asked if they ran out of steam and that’s all they had.
Vince should have quit while he was ahead because the fans chanted “C.M. Punk” at him. Vince said they’d see how long that goes. The fans stopped. “Not very long, that’s what I thought,” he said. Vince said Shane will fear sheer terror when he faces Undertaker at WrestleMania.
Vince reminded fans that he wrote Shane out of his will and that Stephanie gets everything. Vince said he saw a picture of the two of them together when Shane was about to go “to your very first wrestling match.” Vince had the picture appear on the big screen. Vince said it was in Worcester, Massachusetts. Vince had a framed version of the photo. He dropped it and stomped on it, saying he wouldn’t need that anymore now that Shane is no longer his son.
Vince said Shane grew up with a father who never disappointed him and is invincible. Vince said the difference is that he’s Vincent Kenney McMahon, whereas Shane is “just Vince’s son.” Vince brought up his three grandsons and said they would watch their father fail them. Shane told Vince to be careful. Vince said that once they see Shane defeated and put onto a gurney, they only solace they will have is when Vince wraps his arms around them and tells them that at least they have one father figure they can be proud of.
[Q2] Vince said it’s ironic that his greatest creation will put his greatest failure to rest. Vince called for security to come out to escort Shane out of the building. Four security guards walked out. Shane said he would walk out peacefully, but no one better touch him because he’s a little amped up. Vince ordered security to get him.
Shane said he was warning the security guard as one entered the ring. Shane ended up punching the security guard and then fought off the other three when they entered. The fans chanted “Yes!” again as Shane held open the ropes and called for Vince. Shane’s music played to end the segment…
The broadcast team discussed the angle and then hyped the tag title match. A shot aired of Kevin Owens walking backstage with his title belt. Saxton hyped Owens vs. Neville for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Wow, they just don’t make security guards like they used to. It’s ridiculous to watch Shane plow through four men like a god, but there’s no denying that the live crowd ate it up. Owens vs. Neville could be a lot of fun if they give it time. By the way, my apologies to those who normally read the Raw Pre-Show Notes. I was recording a podcast as the show airs. I’ll get back on track with the pre-show notes next week.
1. Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens vs. Neville in a non-title match. The broadcast team said Owens is still searching for a WrestleMania opponent. Neville threw a series of kicks at Owens and then followed up with a running forearm and a huracanrana that sent Owens to the floor. Neville performed a flip over the top rope that Owens avoided. Owens ran Neville into the ring steps heading into the break. [C]
[Q3] Neville avoided a cannonball attempt. Owens came back with a suplex and then ran into a kick. Neville performed a shooting star press onto Owens on the floor that drew “holy shit” chants. Back inside the ring, performed a standing version of the SSP for a two count.
Neville ended up running into a kick, and he avoided Owens’ moonsault. Neville followed up with the Red Arrow for a shocking two count. Neville was going to the ropes to perform the move again when Owens rolled him up from behind and held the tights while getting the pin.
Kevin Owens pinned Neville in 10:20.
After the match, Neville told the referee that Owens was holding the tights. Owens attacked Neville from behind and ended up running him into the ring post. Owens set up for a powerbomb on the floor, but he was stopped by Sami Zayn’s entrance music.
Zayn ran out and fought Owens at ringside. They fought inside the ring with Zayn getting the better of Owens. Neville contributed a kick from the ring apron, then Zayn cleared Owens from the ring with a clothesline… The broadcast team hyped something involving Triple H and Dean Ambrose as footage of last week’s attack aired… [C]
Powell’s POV: A nice return for Zayn. The broadcast team basically acted like everyone should know who he is even though his Raw exposure was limited to his open challenge match with John Cena. I’m happy to see Sami and one can only hope that this means we’re getting Owens vs. Zayn at WrestleMania. However, I hope that WWE officials take notice of what they have in Neville. He is such an amazing talent and I think everything they say about AJ Styles being a pit bull overachiever would actually fit Neville better.
Footage aired of The Rock’s handheld video setting up the announcement of WrestleMania will be available free to new subscribers… The broadcast team hyped WWE Roadblock, WrestleMania Week with Stone Cold Live with Mick Foley, the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, and WrestleMania 32… A video package recapped the Hunter and Ambrose angle from last week…
Powell’s POV: The Foley news is cool, but they “forgot” to include the potential highlight of the weekend – the NXT Takeover: Dallas event.
[Q4] Backstage, Stephanie McMahon thanked Dolph Ziggler to taking down a tweet that disparaged The Authority. Dolph recalled winning a Survivor Series match that was supposed to put an end to The Authority. He said that if Shane wins at WrestleMania, then they will be out of power for good. Stephanie booked Ziggler in an elimination match against three members of League of Nations. Ziggler said he wouldn’t have it any other way…
Brie Bella made her entrance… [C]
Powell’s POV: So they are running angles on Twitter, which is the same place that Stephanie tells people she enjoys playing a bad guy on television. It’s hard to be excited about anything they do with Ziggler these days, and putting him in a handicap match with League of Nations isn’t helping.
2. Brie Bella vs. Summer Rae. A preview for Total Divas was shown before the match. For some reason, JBL thought this was the time to mention Peyton Manning’s retirement. Summer avoided a move and with both women down, Lana walked toward the ring wearing the denim collection she wore while she was with Ziggler. Summer rolled up Brie and pinned her. After the match, Lana attacked Brie and performed a facebuster, then left the ring…
Summer Rae pinned Brie Bella in 2:05.
The broadcast team hyped Dean Ambrose as footage aired of Hunter beating him up last week. Saxton said we would hear from Ambrose after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: This is a bizarre feud. I am pleasantly surprised that Summer followed up on her win over Paige with another win in this match.
Cole boasted about WWE’s following on Facebook…
Dean Ambrose made his entrance for a promo to a strong reaction.
[Q5] Ambrose said he doesn’t care what Hunter’s plan or even what Roman Reigns’ plans were or how inconvenient it is, but he is winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He said Hunter tried to beat respect for authority into him last week. “Nice try,” he said. Ambrose said Hunter will respect him on Saturday at Roadblock when he wins the title and becomes the face of the company.
Ambrose said his face will be on Oprah and on People Magazine. Ambrose worked in a clunky joke about how he loves kids because they are like regular people only smaller. Ambrose said he would make Hunter buy him a new suit and new shoes, then said he’s never going to wear a suit. Ambrose said he would lay it all on the line like he always does.
Triple H made his entrance wearing a suit rather than his ass kicking clothes. Hunter said Ambrose has a nice little fantasy, but the reality is that he’s keeping the title as long as he wants to. Hunter boasted that they are still putting Roman’s face back together. Ambrose said Hunter could suck it.
Hunter mocked the Roadblock name and said it was a name that “some idiot in marketing” came up with. He said Ambrose is more like a speed bump than a road block. Ambrose said he’d rather be delusional than whatever Hunter is. Hunter said he is driven and what makes Ambrose whatever he is.
Ambrose invited Triple H to come to the ring. Hunter took a few steps down the ramp and let the crowd chant “asshole.” He asked the fans if they want to see him fight Ambrose. Hunter said he fights on his own time. He said Ambrose will get his shot at Roadblock, but until then he is going to do what successful people do by delegating. Hunter booked Ambrose in a match against Bray Wyatt. Hunter said that whether Ambrose learns tonight or at Roadblock, he will come face to face with the reality that the authority always wins…
The broadcast team hyped the tag title match, and hyped Ziggler vs. Sheamus, Rusev, and King Barrett in an “elimination tag team match” for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Meh. There just isn’t the chemistry between Hunter and Ambrose that I thought there would be. That doesn’t mean they can’t have a good match, but the setup has been more miss than hit thus far. Hunter actually nailed it. This doesn’t feel like a showdown, it feels like a speed bump on the road to WrestleMania. Oh, and he’s right about the horrible Roadblock name too. Suck it, idiot in marketing.
Motorhead’s version of “Sympathy For The Devil” is a WrestleMania theme…
Powell’s POV: It has to be better than the Guns N’ Roses version of the Rolling Stones’ classic. Or as Slash once labeled the GNR version, “the sounds of the band breaking up.” Anyway, here comes the sound of a terrible faction.
[Q6] 3. Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev, Sheamus, and King Barrett in an elimination tag match. In a shocking twist, Ziggler sold big for the heels early on. Ziggler came back with a DDT on Sheamus, who tagged in Barrett. Ziggler avoided a charging Barrett, who ran into the ring post shoulder first. JBL said Barrett has a history of problems with his shoulder. Ziggler caught Barrett with a superkick and pinned him at 5:40.
Ziggler superkicked Sheamus and had him pinned, but Rusev broke it up. In the end, Rusev caught Ziggler with a kick from the floor, then Sheamus hit him with a Brogue Kick and got the win…
Rusev, Sheamus, and King Barrett beat Dolph Ziggler in 6:30.
A recap of the Vince and Shane segment aired, then Cole hyped a look at the career of Shane for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: The most interesting part of the elimination tag match is that Alberto Del Rio was not involved. Del Rio was scheduled to face Kalisto at the live events over the weekend, but he was replaced by Sheamus in Minneapolis and then by Barrett in Cedar Rapids and Moline.
The broadcast team set up a video package on the in-ring career of Shane McMahon…
Backstage, Sasha Banks told Becky Lynch that she had her beat at Raw and Smackdown. Lynch said she would have won if the matches had gone longer. Lynch said they have a match with Naomi and Tamina. She told her to spare her the Nicki Minaj attitude because it’s time for an Irish Lass Kicking. Sasha said we’ll see who gets her Irish Lass kicked at WrestleMania… [C]
Powell’s POV: Sasha sounds more scripted than she did during her prime run at NXT. I’m still not sure what they want viewers to think of her character. She’s not a traditional babyface, but she’s teaming with one and feuding with a heel champion.
4. Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks vs. Naomi and Tamina. No televised entrance for Naomi and Tamina. Charlotte and Ric Flair watched the match from ringside. Sasha used the Bank Statement to make Naomi tap. Charlotte attacked Sasha after the match. Lynch tried to help, but Charlotte put her down too…
Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks beat Naomi and Tamina.
Powell’s POV: Neither Divas Title challenger has any momentum heading into WrestleMania. The build has been more about making Charlotte look strong. By the way, I didn’t notice any major cuts on Charlotte despite the cut she suffered on Friday night.
Backstage, R-Truth was delivering a pizza and somehow made it past Mark Henry. Truth approached Goldust and said it was a Chicago deep dish pizza. Goldust asked what he was doing. Truth said he dressed up like Goldust would do. Goldust asked why in the blue blazer he would do something like this. Goldust said a true tag partner would know he is lactose intolerant. He said his butt would explode if he ate it. Truth said he didn’t know about his exploding butt. Henry showed up after Goldust and Truth left and took the pizza…
[Q8] Saxton hyped the tag title match for after the break… Footage aired from WrestleMania of Steve Austin beating Shawn Michaels with Mike Tyson as special referee in 1998… [C]
New Day delivered pre-match mic work. E said they are a real team and even got matching tattoos. He found out that he was the only team member who went through with it. Jericho’s entrance music interrupted them, then Styles made his entrance. Lilian Garcia delivered the in-ring introductions for the tag title match…
5. Big E and Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Chris Jericho and AJ Styles for the WWE Tag Team Championship. There was a loud “AJ Styles” chant even though he didn’t start the match. The challengers performed dives over the top rope onto their opponents heading into the break. [C] New Day was in control coming out of the break thanks to a kick from Woods on Jericho.
[Q9] Jericho made a hot tag. Styles checked in and got a good near fall on Kingston coming off a springboard reverse DDT. New Day came back and performed the Big Ending on Styles. Jericho ran into break it up, but E stood in his way. Jericho pushed E so they both broke up the pin. Jericho performed a Lionsault and tagged in Styles, who performed a springboard 450 on Kingston. Big E pulled Kofi to the floor.
Styles pulled himself over the top rope and blasted E with a flying forearm. The fans chanted “this is awesome.” Kingston caught Styles with a wicked kick. Jericho tagged in and applied the Walls of Jericho on Kingston. Woods held the ropes out, but Styles ran over and took out Woods. Big E slammed Styles into the barricade. Big E tagged in and Jericho cut him off. Jericho went for the Codebreaker, but Big E caught him and hit The Big Ending for the clean win.
New Day beat AJ Styles and Chris Jericho in 11:40 to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
After New Day left, Styles helped Jericho to his feet, but Jericho put him down with a Codebreaker, which the crowd booed. Jericho performed another Codebreaker. Jericho smiled as Styles crawled up him to get back to his feet, then Jericho gave him a third Codebreaker and soaked up the crowd’s boos. Jericho went to ringside and grabbed one of the Y2AJ shirts and then returned to the ring and shoved in into Styles’ mouth…
Powell’s POV: A highly entertaining tag match with some strong near falls. The fans were really hot for the Styles and Jericho near falls. It’s the first time I really Jericho and Styles as a team, but I’m very happy to see Jericho turn on AJ. They both deserve a singles match at WrestleMania. Will the Y2AJ t-shirts become collector’s items?
A WrestleMania video package aired and focussed on The Rock. We are 27 days away..
[Q10] Backstage, Renee Young asked Chris Jericho if he had a comment on what he just did. Jericho said in the town where Y2J was born, all they were chanting was AJ Styles. Jericho said he hopes they enjoyed it because they won’t be chanting AJ Styles anymore… Shawn Michaels will be the guest on Tuesday’s ESPNews SportsCenter segment…
6. Kalisto vs. Tyler Breeze in a non-title match. Breeze has a beard or at least some serious stubble. Cole asked fans to understand how important the match is because Breeze could earn a U.S. Title shot. Breeze caught Kalisto with a superkick coming off the top rope and got a two count. Kalisto eventually hit the Salida del Sol for the win…
Kalisto beat Tyler Breeze in a non-title match in 2:10.
Cole hyped Ambrose vs. Wyatt as the main event… [C]
Powell’s POV: The crowd took the match off until they popped a bit for the finish. Granted, they were coming down from the tag title match, but Kalisto just isn’t clicking the way he should be. I blame lack of character development. We haven’t heard much from him and whenever we have it’s been very generic babyface dialogue.
A “Best of NXT” DVD commercial aired. Cole tied it in as one of the great products you can only see on the network, which led to the broadcast team hyping everything other than NXT Takeover: Dallas… They set up a Big Boss Man highlight video for his WWE Hall of Fame induction…
Backstage, Kalisto was walking with Sin Cara when JoJo approached Kalisto for an interview about WrestleMania. He said he’s been watching WrestleMania since he was a kid. He made the obligatory references to Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero.
[Q11] Ryback showed up and said he didn’t mean to step in Kalisto’s spotlight, but he wants to know why he doesn’t have a WrestleMania match. Ryback said he has nothing but respect for Kalisto. He said Kalisto is a great pound for pound fighter, but this isn’t pound for pound. Ryback said he makes Robert Downey Jr. and Ryan Reynolds look like Ant Man. Ryback told Kalisto that being in a tag team holds you back. Ryback said he was going to tear the wings off of the social butterflies…
The Social Outcasts made their entrance and delivered some mic work. No one cared. They did some weird chopping thing while squealing. I’ve never been so happy to see Ryback, who made his entrance heading into the break… [C]
7. Ryback vs. Curtis Axel (w/Adam Rose, Bo Dallas, Heath Slater). Ryback won with Shellshocked…
Ryback beat Curtis Axel.
A recap of the Vince and Shane segment aired complete with the embarrassing beatdown of the security guards. Backstage, Vince was boasting about the old attendance record for WrestleMania 3 on the phone. Stephanie entered the picture and was worried about Shane. She said he’s fearless and they need to stack the deck against him. Vince said he has this. “But what if you don’t?” Stephanie asked. Vince responded, “I said I’ve got this, okay?”…
Dean Ambrose made his entrance for the main event…
Powell’s POV: Let’s be real, Vince should have pissed himself laughing at the mere thought of Shane McMahon hanging with Undertaker.
[Q12] [C] Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will appear on Miz TV on Thursday’s Smackdown…
A pre-taped Bray Wyatt aired on the big screen. He said he has a chance to do at Roadblock what Ambrose has failed to do time and time again – conquer the conquerer. Wyatt said tonight he is going to use Ambrose as an example of how cruel and dangerous he is…
Wyatt made his entrance for the main event and didn’t have his sidekicks with him. Footage aired of The Wyatt Family attacking Lesnar in the Royal Rumble match. Cole hyped Lesnar vs. Wyatt at Roadblock…
8. Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt. Wyatt took Ambrose down with a running cross body block heading into the break. [C] At 8:30, Ambrose and Wyatt traded punches with Ambrose getting better of the exchange. Wyatt decked him with right hand. Ambrose teetered on the ropes, but Wyatt hit him with a vicious clothesline.
[Overrun] Cole reset the show and hyped Roadblock at the top of the hour for viewers who were tuning in for the main event. Ambrose came back and went for Dirty Deeds, but Wyatt fled to ringside. Ambrose went for a suicide dive, but Wyatt caught him. Ambrose avoided Sister Abigail, but Bray performed a uranage onto the barricade.
Back inside the ring, they traded punches and then Ambrose hit the teetering clothesline. Ambrose went up top and performed his flying elbow. The drained crowd wasn’t very hot for that move. The Wyatt Family video flashed and then Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, and Braun Strowman were on the ring apron. They entered the ring and attacked Ambrose for the DQ. Wyatt performed Sister Abigail on Ambrose.
Dean Ambrose beat Bray Wyatt by an apparent DQ in 11:45.
As The Wyatt Family stood over Ambrose, Triple H’s music played and he headed to the ring wearing a suit and carrying the title belt. The Wyatt Family glared at Hunter as he entered the ring while unbuttoning his shirt and removing his tie.
Hunter circled around Ambrose and then Wyatt stepped up and looked Hunter in the eye. Hunter looked at the other members of the Wyatt Family and the crowd chanted “Yes!” Wyatt laughed as he looked at the title belt. Wyatt touched the title and then left the ring with his minions.
Hunter rolled up his sleeves and then looked down at the broadcast team’s table. Hunter went to ringside and took the table apart. Once Hunter returned to the ring, Ambrose dropped him with Dirty Deeds. JBL said Ambrose will be champion if he performs that move successfully on Saturday. Ambrose picked up the title belt as Cole questioned whether this could be the scene on Saturday night. Ambrose’s music played as he held the title belt.
Powell’s POV: That’s it? Triple H smashes Roman Reigns’ face repeatedly and then destroys Ambrose last week, but Ambrose is apparently content performing his finishing move and playing with the title belt. I like the way the broadcast team followed by hyping the title match for Roadblock, but the Ambrose attack seemed really soft all things considered.
Another half-assed edition of Raw with the company sorta hyping Roadblock and sorta hyping WrestleMania. The tag title match and the Jericho turn were the highlights of the night. It was also nice to see Sami Zayn return to go after Kevin Owens. However, the show dragged again. The Vince and Shane angle feels like it took place three days ago rather than at the top of the show because Raw was once again a marathon. I’m looking forward to Roadblock, but it has very little to do with the their sales pitch. The WrestleMania hype needs to be much stronger coming out of Roadblock. I will be back later tonight with a member exclusive audio review. Thanks for watching along with me.