2/27 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: Goldberg appears, Seth Rollins sit-down interview, final push for WWE Fastlane

newrawlogo1By Jason Powell

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Green Bay, Wisconsin at Resch Center

[Q1] Michael Cole, who was joined on commentary by Corey Graves and Byron Saxton, welcomed viewers to Raw. Bill Goldberg’s entrance theme played. He was shown walking through the backtage area in street clothes backstage area. He received the usual pyro and was introduced by ring announcer JoJo. The broadcast team hyped his Fastlane title match against Kevin Owens.

The fans continued to chant Goldberg’s name after his music stopped playing. Goldberg thanked the crowd. He said last week Kevin Owens did what he does best – talk, talk, and talk. Goldberg said he wasn’t going to do that. He said he was in one hell of a good mood because he’s six days out. Goldberg said he’s never made a promise he didn’t keep.

Goldberg promised that it would be spear, Jackhammer, and a 1-2-3 with him becoming Universal Champion, and then taking it to WrestleMania to defend against Brock Lesnar. Goldberg promised to everyone at home, his wife, his son, and Owens that he would deliver. “I’ll see you Sunday,” Goldberg said.

Kevin Owens’ entrance music played and he walked out dressed in a black suit and carried the WWE Universal Championship. Fans booed. Owens said he made himself a promise when he came to WWE that he would grab the company by the throat and make them see what he’s all about. Owens spoke about beating John Cena, Dean Ambrose, and AJ Styles. Goldberg gave him a golf clap. Owens said he beat Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Owens said he wasn’t going to bring up what he did to Chris Jericho because he doesn’t matter.

Owens said that no matter how much the fans chant Goldberg’s name, Goldberg is next. Owens said he wasn’t saying it in the same cute way that Goldberg does. ‘I’m telling you right here, right now that you, Bill Goldberg, are next in the evolution of Kevin Owens as Universal Champion,” he said. Goldberg once again clapped and said everyone should give him a hand for such a moving speech. He said it was entertaining, yet it pissed him off. Goldberg asked why wait until Sunday. Owens said he doesn’t speak neanderthal well.

Owens teased giving Goldberg a Green Bay street fight. “Wait, Green Bay?” Owens said. “Green Bay doesn’t deserve to see me fight.” Owens said they would fight on Sunday and he would stand over him still Universal Champion. Owens said the Goldberg chants will die on Sunday. Owens dropped the mic and headed backstage. Owens’ music played. Goldberg stood on the ropes and played to the fans…

Graves hyped an in-ring interview with Seth Rollins regarding his status for WrestleMania… Backstage, New DAy was clowning around with two men. Saxton hyped they were getting ready for action… [C]

Powell’s POV: They laid it on so thick with Goldberg’s promises that they are essentially telling fans that he’s going to win the title. It may disappoint fans who want to be surprised, but it’s not a bad strategy, as fans want to experience history. I remember TNA taking a similar approach with Samoa Joe winning the title and it led to a surge in pay-per-view buys. I’m still wondering why they had Owens take a more serious approach going into the match rather than saving his character shift for post Fastlane.

[Q2] Saxton thanked the artist responsible for the Fastlane theme song… New Day made their entrance while Cole hyped that they will host WrestleMania in 34 nights. They delivered a promo from ringside. They said fans should be concerned with what is in their bowl. They entered the ring and Kofi Kingston said the fans want ice cream. They received a flat reaction with some scattered ice cream chants. They said they had to take the shine off the Shining Stars, whose music mercifully interrupted.

A production member entered the ring and handed Xavier Woods a red card. Woods apologized to Primo and Epico, saying they wouldn’t be facing them tonight, they would be facing Big Show. Rusev and Jinder Mahal made their entrance…

Powell’s POV: Apparently no one in the Green Bay crowd watched the Oscars or they just didn’t find the skit funny. Ouch. Not a good night for New Day so far.

1. Big E and Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) vs. Jinder Mahal and Rusev (w/Lana). New Day was in control heading into the early break. [C]

[Q3] Later, Lana and Kingston argued on the floor. Rusev went over to back up his wife. Jinder was distracted and rolled up by Woods. Mahal was upset afterward and jawed at Rusev…

New Day beat Jinder Mahal and Rusev in 9:45.

The broadcast team hyped Bayley and Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte and Dana Brooke for later in the show… [C]

Powell’s POV: The crowd was more receptive to New Day during the match, but this is as flat as the act has felt in a long time. Let the record show that the Dairy State didn’t pop for ice cream.

A shot aired of the Bart Starr statue outside the venue… The broadcast team recapped highlights of Enzo Amore and Big Cass beating Sheamus and Cesaro to earn a tag title shot… Backstage, Enzo spoke with Cass about winning the tag titles and how he won’t take the belt off. Cass pointed out that Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson have won tag titles all over the world, whereas they have never won tag titles before. He also mentioned something about facing Gallows…

Backstage, Sheamus and Cesaro were talking about not getting the tag title shot. Cesaro had a line about crap smelling. Yes, really. Samoa Joe entered the picture and said it was a long time since he’d seen Cesaro. He said it was the same old thing with Cesaro still trying to figure things out. Shemaus stepped forward, but Cesaro told him he could always handle Joe. Cesaro said it was the same Joe who was backstabbing as always. Cesaro said Joe is carrying Triple H’s jockstrap. Joe said that’s clever and wished him good luck with doing more clever things, adding that it’s worked for him so far…

Backstage, Stephanie McMahon was talking with a production member when Mick Foley entered the room. Stephanie said he’s a legend in WWE and spoke about his ear and how it shows the lengths he would go to. She said that’s not the Mick Foley she has now. Stephanie said Triple H ended Foley’s career 17 years ago. She said she wasn’t apologizing for that. She said Hunter seems to get stronger every year, while Foley gets weaker. Stephanie said Foley doesn’t measure up to Hunter or even his own expectations. She said he’s getting even more pathetic. She said he can’t stand up to anyone or anything when he can’t even stand… [C]

Powell’s POV: The Joe and Cesaro exchange was a nice throwback for ROH fans. I wonder what fans who are not familiar with their history thought about it. The Steph attack on Foley was more mean than compelling.

[Q4] An ad for Smackdown hyped Luke Harper vs. AJ Styles…

2. Akira Tozawa vs. Noam Dar (w/Alicia Fox). Austin Aries replaced Saxton on commentary for the cruiserweight match. Footage aired of Brian Kendrick talking about how he tried to take Tozawa under his wing, and how he taught him lessons. Dar and Kendrick vs. Tozawa and Rich Swann was announced for the Fastlane Kickoff Show. It was all Tozawa during the opening minute. Fox provided a distraction from the floor that allowed Dar to get his first offense in. Tozawa yelled and got the crowd to clap before performing a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Tozawa performed his snap German suplex and scored the clean pin…

Akira Tozawa defeated Noam Dar in 3:00.

After the match, Aries said he would be back and added that he was working on a big scoop. Kendrick attacked Tozawa from behind in the ring. Kendrick grabbed a mic and said that was lesson number three. He said even when the match is over, it’s not over. “I hope you’re learning your lessons,” Kendrick said before leaving the ring. Cole said he would find out the next lesson in a Kickoff Show match on Sunday…

Cole hyped the women’s tag match… [C] An ad for NXT hyped Authors of Pain vs. DIY for the NXT Tag Titles…

Powell’s POV: Another good showing for Tozawa, who managed to get the crowd behind him more than most of the cruiserweight babyfaces.

Backstage, Samoa Joe confronted Mick Foley “What’s wrong, Mick, not having a nice day?” he mocked. Foley said he has not had a nice day or a nice run as general manager. Foley spoke about being Joe’s biggest fan at one point, but now he sees him as Triple H’s puppet. Joe denied it. Foley asked what Joe would call it. Joe said no one tells him what to do. Foley said he would tell him what to do as long as he’s still general manager. Foley booked Joe vs. Cesaro for later in the show. Nice…

[Q5] Charlotte made her entrance along with Dana Brooke. Cole brought up the number 16. He said she is 16-0 in pay-per-view matches.

Powell’s POV: I honestly thought they were already brining up the number of title reigns her father has had compared to her.

Charlotte said she thought Bayley was going to do the right thing last week, but she revealed what a selfish person she really is. Charlotte said she’s known this all along. She said Bayley should have won an Academy Award. She said Bayley can’t help it because she’s normal and average like the fans are. She said Bayley didn’t care that Sasha Banks cheated, it was good enough for “Just Bayley.” Charlotte said Bayley is destined to be a one hit wonder. She ran through a bunch of one hit wonders and included Brett Favre, the cast from Twilight, Buster Douglas, and “your quarterback.”

Bayley made her entrance. Cole defended Bayley not turning over the title last week. “There she is, the cheater herself,” Charlotte said. Bayley said the words she was looking for was Bayley the champion. “This one hit wonder has defeated you three times,” Bayley said. She added that she knows she made the right decision to keep the title last week thanks to the WWE Universe. Bayley pointed at the WrestleMania sign and said her dream is to walk in as the Raw Women’s Champion.

Charlotte said she’s tired of hearing about Bayley’s dreams. She said she was going to buy Bayley’s father a front row ticket so she could watch her crush Bayley’s dreams. Sasha Banks made her entrance and told Charlotte that Bayley is everything she wishes she was and everything the fans want. She said Bayley is more deserving of the championship than Bayley will ever be. Sasha ended up saying she didn’t know why they were still talking when they have a tag match. Charlotte said Brooke wasn’t her partner. Nia Jax made her entrance…

Powell’s POV: No matter where you stand on the debate of how Bayley won the championship and her decision to keep it, the simple truth is that they wouldn’t need to justify her decision as much as they did had they simply given her the same clean win over Charlotte that Sasha was given last week.

[Q6] 3. Bayley and Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax and Charlotte (w/Dana Brooke). At 4:45, Bayley performed a Belly to Baily on Brooke at ringside. [C] Jax used a power move to take offensive control on Sasha, which led to the heels isolating her in their corner. She eventually made a hot tag to Bayley, who worked over Charlotte. Bayley clotheslined Charlotte over the rope, but didn’t notice that she tagged in Jax. Bayley still managed to put Jax in a sleeper, but Nia was able to fling her off. Jax caught Sasha of the ropes and slammed her onto Bayley. Jax followed up with a leg drop for the win…

Nia Jax and Charlotte defeated Bayley and Sasha Banks in 11:30.

Graves hyped Rollins appearing in the ring for an interview later in the show… Backstage, Foley told Braun Strowman that he could not give him any competition. Strowman said he didn’t want competition, he wanted a contract for his match with Reigns at Fastlane. Strowman said he wanted to make sure Reigns was going to run. Foley said he didn’t think Reigns would run, but he said he could have a contract signing. Foley told him not to blame him if it didn’t turn out the way he thought it would. Strowman said he wanted a contract or else… Graves hyped Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows for after the break…

Powell’s POV: A nice win for Jax, yet Bayley has no momentum as a new champion. Perhaps that will change if she beats Charlotte on Sunday. Meanwhile, Foley seemed to be foreshadowing that Reigns will be getting the better of Strowman tonight. I hope they show that Strowman was trying to sucker Reigns into a bad situation because the idea of him wanting a contract for the match to prevent Reigns from running was silly.

[Q7] [C] Cole hyped Kevin Owens appearing on ESPN(ews) on Wednesday…

4. Luke Gallows (w/Karl Anderson) vs. Big Cass (w/Enzo Amore). Enzo and Cass’s pre-match routine was well received. Gallows escaped a chokeslam attempt and worked over Cass briefly. Cass came back and performed a fallaway slam. Cass followed up with a sidewalk slam and then performed the Empire Elbow. Anderson distracted Cass, but Enzo ran him into the steps. Cass caught Gallows with a big boot and pinned him…

Big Cass pinned Luke Gallows in 2:40.

Powell’s POV: If Cass was a real man, he would have faced Anderson and Gallows just like Roman Reigns did the last two weeks. Wuss. Joking aside, the tag champs were roughed up by Reigns two weeks in a row and now Gallows lost clean to Cass. Ouch.

The broadcast team stood behind their desk and promoted Fastlane and WWE Network. Cole told first-timers that if they wait until Thursday to subscribe, they can get WrestleMania free too as part of their 30-day trial… Cole hyped the Reigns and Strowman contract signing… [C]

[Q8] Footage aired from WWE’s Facebook page of Titus O’Neil trying to get Sheamus to team with him as the Irish Connection. Sheamus tried to walk away, but Titus took offense and spun him around. Shemaus shoved him over a catering table…

Powell’s POV: The message here? Titus should never grab a cranky Irishman who is walking away from him. Oh, wait, he already learned that lesson.

5. Sheamus vs. Titus O’Neil. Titus attacked Sheamus before he could enter the ring. He roughed him up at ringside and then in the ring. The referee separated them, checked with Sheamus, and then started the match. Saxton said he’d never seen Titus so aggressive. Sheamus caught him with a quick Brogue Kick and pinned him…

Sheamus pinned Titus O’Neil in 0:19.

Saxton hyped Joe vs. Cesaro. He said they travelled similar roads and shared a battle or two over the course of their careers, but this was the first time they would meet on Raw. Graves said Rollins would be watching that match like a hawk. Graves said he would be sitting down with Rollins after the break… [C]

Corey Graves stood in the ring and set up a long video package on the Seth Rollins and Triple H feud along with the footage of Samoa Joe attacking Rollins, who suffered a legit knee injury. Graves introduced Rollins, who came out with his knee in a brace and using a single crutch. Once Rollins arrived in the ring, Graves hugged him.

[Q9] Rollins said the MCL tear was more significant than the initial diagnosis. He said the rehab is intense and “it is what it is.” Graves asked Rollins where his head is at. Rollins said that’s tricky. He paused and then said it sucks. He said he felt the same snap in his knee and he laid in a hospital bed wondering if maybe he deserved it. Graves asked what he meant. Rollins said he held the title over his head two years ago at WrestleMania.

Rollins said he’s been asking himself what he sacrificed for that and was it worth it. Rollins recalled telling fans that he didn’t sellout, he bought in. He said he should have known better when it came to Triple H stabbing him in the back. He brought up his redesign, rebuild, and reclaim catchphrase and said it was supposed to be about him being better and somewhere along the way he lost sight of that. Graves said that according to Hunter and Joe, Rollins is going to miss WrestleMania. He asked what Rollins had to say about it. Rollins stammered while saying it’s not looking great. Rollins said it doesn’t look like the doctors will clear him in time for WrestleMania.

Triple H’s music played and he headed to the ring with a big smile on his face. Hunter mockingly introduced Rollins. He said he knew fans won’t believe it because they think he’s heartless, but he said it was really good to see Rollins. “Oh, and you know Joe, right,” Hunter said while standing on the ring apron and pointing to Samoa Joe behind Rollins on the floor.

Hunter said the answer is that Rollins will not be at WrestleMania. Hunter said that if Rollins knows what’s good for him, he won’t be there regardless of what anyone tells him. Hunter asked if he was just coming to the realization that he deserves it. Hunter said Rollins knew what he was getting into from the start. “I made you man,” Triple H said before adding that he made him the champion. Hunter said Rollins shoved it in everyone’s face and told them he was the man. Joe was standing on the ring apron.

Hunter said he did that for Rollins and then Rollins bit the hand that feeds him. Hunter mocked the fans for saying he used up Rollins and spat him out. “So frickin’ what?” Hunter said. Triple H told Rollins directly that he used him up and spit him out. “Get over it,” he said. He said Rollins profited along the way. “I used to tell the whole world that you were the future, but now you’re the past.” Hunter called him another washed up, beat up superstar. Hunter told him to salvage what was left. Triple H told Rollins not to come to WrestleMania and call him out. He said he is done playing with Rollins and warning him. Hunter swore that if Rollins were to show up and call him out, it would be the last thing he would do in a WWE ring.

Rollins called Triple H back before he could leave. Rollins recalled saying he had nothing left to lose. “I will be at WrestleMania,” Rollins said. “And if it’s the last thing I ever do then I swear to you, it will be the last thing you ever do.” Rollins dropped the mic and had a staredown with Hunter. Triple H dropped his mic and dropped to the floor. Joe joined Hunter at ringside and they headed up the ramp while Cole said that Rollins has to be medically cleared or he won’t be at WrestleMania…

Saxton hyped the contract signing for later in the show… [C]

Powell’s POV: A good segment in front of a tough crowd. The Green Bay fans haven’t been truly hot for much of anything since Goldberg. Rollins struggled a bit during the interview with Graves, but the intensity between Rollins and Triple H was strong. I was waiting for this to turn out to be a Rollins trick that Hunter was lured into, but I like the idea of stretching this out and leaving viewers hoping that Rollins receives medical clearance.

[Q10] 6. Big Show vs. Primo and Epico in a handicap match. Cole hyped tickets for Extreme Rules going on sale for the June 4 pay-per-view. He noted that it will be a Raw event. Show tossed around both men and ended up chokeslamming and pinning one of the two…

Big Show defeated Primo and Epico in 1:55.

Powell’s POV: This was fine for a handicap squash, but I was actually hoping for something better from Show coming off his big match with Braun Strowman last week. He really needs a mission statement promo. He just comes off as being content with winning meaningless matches like this one. The match last week was so well received that this felt like an opportunity to breathe some new life into Show’s career. They didn’t blow it, but they didn’t really make a real effort either.

The latest Black History Month video focussed on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr…

Backstage, Neville spoke to Tony Nese about teaming with him against TJ Perkins and Jack Gallagher. Neville started talking about the purpose of the match being to put Jack Gallagher in his place before Fastlane. Nese lost interest as Neville ranted about the contract signing. Neville asked if he understood. Nese said he would do what was best for the Premiere Athlete… [C]

A shot aired from inside the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame… Cole recalled Aries talking about his big scoop earlier. Cole said Aries believes he will be in the WWE Hall of Fame one day. The Aries teaser video from 205 Live aired…

Ring entrances for the tag match took place. Aries was back on commentary for the cruiserweight match and asked Cole if he liked his package, adding that it was massive. Footage aired from the contract signing on 205 Live…

[Q11] 7. Jack Gallagher and TJ Perkins vs. Neville and Tony Nese. Cole said Neville will deliver his State of 205 Live Address on Tuesday’s show. Gallagher caught Neville with a headbutt. Perkins hit the Detonation Kick of Nese. Gallagher followed up with a running dropkick. Gallagher caught Nese in a submission hold. Neville teased running in to save him, but thought twice about it…

Jack Gallagher and TJ Perkins beat Neville and Tony Nese in 2:00.

Powell’s POV: Quick and forgettable. The lack of time is disappointing considering they have a pay-per-view title match on Sunday.

Cole set up a video package for Beth Phoenix’s WWE Hall of Fame induction… The broadcast team hyped Joe vs. Cesaro for after the break… [C]

Backstage, Bayley was icing her neck and Sasha was rubbing her own neck. Sasha said no one deserves the title more than she does. Bayley talked about Charlotte always being up to something. Sasha told her not to worry because she would be in her corner. Stephanie showed up and questioned whether Sasha doesn’t think Bayley can get the job done on her own. Stephanie booked Sasha in a match against Nia Jax for Sunday…

8. Samoa Joe vs. Cesaro. Cole hyped Raw in Chicago for next week. Cesaro powered up Joe early on and suplexed him. Joe dropped Cesaro feet first on the ring apron a short time later. Cesaro fell to the floor and held his knee, which he continued to sell. Joe targeted the knee heading into the break.

[Q12] [C] Joe was still in control. Cesaro came back with a suplex and some uppercuts. Joe rolled up Cesaro into a kneebar. Cesaro countered into a Sharpshooter attempt, but Joe broke it up with left jabs. Cesaro slammed on his knee, then threw uppercuts in the corner. Cesaro got a two count off a slam.

Cesaro went for a Neutralizer. Joe backdropped him, but Cesaro landed on his feet and sold the knee. Cesaro went for a springboard move and sold the knee. Joe shoved him off the middle rope, then kicked the bad knee. Joe followed up with a uranage and pinned Cesaro…

Samoa Joe pinned Cesaro in 7:50.

After the match, Charly Caruso interviewed Joe on the stage about making a big impact on Raw. Joe said he came to hurt people. He said Cesaro is a world renowned wrestler, a seasoned veteran, and a freak athlete. “But he is not me,” Joe said. He said Cesaro is a reminder to everyone in the back that it doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve accomplished, or that people leave you.

Sami Zayn’s music played and he blindsided Joe the same way Joe blindsided him. Zayn was getting the better of Joe with punches before referees intervened. Joe caught Zayn with a cheap shot and then the referees got between them. Zayn teased calming down and then performed a flip off the stage and onto Joe (and the concrete). The referees and independent wrestlers stepped in again…

The broadcast team hyped Fastlane, WrestleMania, and WWE Network. Cole hyped the contract signing for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Joe vs. Cesaro was disappointing for anyone looking for a classic, but it was also a wisely booked match. Joe needs to be a dominant badass right now. It’s not about having long, competitive matches. The time will come. The buildup of Joe has been great so far. Plus, Cesaro was protected with the knee injury. The post match brawl was solid and sets up Joe vs. Zayn for Fastlane.

[Overrun] Graves announced Joe vs. Zayn as being official for Fastlane. Saxton hyped Jax vs. Banks…

Mick Foley stood in the ring and set up the contract signing before Braun Strowman’s entrance music interrupted him. Strowman told him to leave or else. Foley said he may not be long for the general manager position, but Strowman will respect it as long as he holds it. Strowman said he would have respected him once as an opponent, but Stephanie is right that he’s a shell of his former self.

Foley fired up and said that he’d had enough of being talked down to. He said Strowman would respect him as a legend or else. Roman Reigns’ entrance music played and he headed to the ring. Strowman met him at ringside and they fought. Strowman tossed Reigns, who got up and came right back with a Superman Punch. Strowman caught Reigns and ran him into the ring post.

Strowman tossed Reigns over the barricade and followed him. Strowman slammed Roman’s head into production cases. The broadcast team said Reigns didn’t have an answer to Strowman thus far. Reigns blocked a shot from Strowman, punched him, and slammed his head onto a railing. Roman speared Strowman through the barricade, which took out a big security guard in the process.

Reigns entered the ring and the fans chanted “Roman” as he picked up the contract. Reigns was about to sign the contract when he noticed that Strowman was back on his feet. Strowman asked if that’s all Roman had. Reigns hit him with another Superman Punch. Strowman ran Reigns into the corner. The top turnbuckle came off. Cole said it exploded from the force of Strowman.

Strowman played to the crowd and was booed as he left the ring. They replayed the turnbuckle spot a couple times. Reigns got to his knees and signed the contract while Strowman watched from the stage. Braun headed to the back. Roman’s music played as the broadcast team delivered final hype for the match on Sunday…

Powell’s POV: Well played. Regardless of who wins on Sunday, they abandoned the usual back and forth approach of the build and made Strowman look dominant each time. Reigns also got his moment when he signed the contract despite the latest beating. This has been really well done. WWE had to be encouraged that the fans were chanting for Reigns and were still booing Strowman. It’s one night though. Let’s see if Milwaukee feels the same way on Sunday and if Chicago feels the same way on Monday. I will have more to say about the show in the free All Access Daily Podcast, which will be available late tonight. Thanks for watching along with me.


Readers Comments (4)

  1. Dear God, the Green Bay crowd was so bad they made Corpis Christi’s crowd look like Chicago in comparison.

  2. I didn’t hear booing of Strowman. They were cheering him and chanting his name. Wasn’t Roman they were cheering.

  3. If the rumored Big Show-Shaq match doesn’t happen at WM,maybe Big Show vs. Samoa Joe?

    And if all they’re going to let Foley do is be a sad puppy dog could we just let him leave now?

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