3/27 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: WrestleMania 33 go-home show with Goldberg and Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins responds to Triple H’s offer, Bayley and Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte and Nia Jax

By Jason Powell

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Wells Fargo Center

Raw opened with the “Then, Now, Forever” video, but it was interrupted by Undertaker images… The Raw opening video aired… Pyro shot off on the stage… Michael Cole, who was joined on commentary by Corey Graves and Byron Saxton, hyped that there were 17,292 fans in the sold out venue. Graves hyped the Triple H “hold harmless” contract offer to Seth Rollins, and Saxton hyped Goldberg and Brock Lesnar appearing days before their WrestleMania match…

Ring announcer JoJo introduced Bayley. Cole hyped the fact that the Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania is now a four-way elimination match. Bayley, who was wearing an Ultimate Warrior t-shirt, said she was feeling it and asked the crowd who is ready for WrestleMania. Bayley said she used to get together with her friends and they would beg their parents to order WrestleMania. She said this year she’s not watching in the crowd, she will be at WrestleMania.

Charlotte’s entrance interrupted Bayley. Charlotte asked Bayley if she really dreamed of going to WrestleMania as the paper champion. Charlotte said Sasha Banks made Bayley her pawn. Charlotte said Sasha used Bayley to get back into the title picture. Charlotte called Bayley a naive fangirl. Charlotte said she would praise Sasha for being so clever, but even Charlotte isn’t that cruel.

Charlotte said she will walk out of WrestleMania as the five-time champion while Bayley will walk away with now friends, no title, and no future. Bayley questioned why she should believe anything Charlotte says. Charlotte pointed to the big screen where a graphic showed a tweet from Sasha that read “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” It pertained to Charlotte and Sasha in NXT. Charlotte said it was her first, and now it’s Bayley.

Sasha Banks made her entrance and pointed out that the tweet was from 2015 and has nothing to do with her friendship with Bayley. Sasha said Charlotte was just trying to stir the pot. Sasha said she and Bayley are big girls. Sasha also said she will beat Bayley at WrestleMania, which drew a look from Bayley.

Nia Jax made her entrance and complained that the three women and their high school drama is all she’s heard about. She called them pathetic and said she will eliminate each of them and then the title will have a permanent home. Charlotte said the only reason Nia was even in the match was because Sasha didn’t need to pretend to care about Bayley. Sasha attacked Charlotte, then Jax attacked Bayley. Cole hyped their tag match for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: They did a good job of selling the question of whether Sasha has been conspiring against Bayley. They took such a strange path to this four-way match, but that mystery combined with the new elimination stipulation has me looking forward to it.

[Q2] The WrestleMania video aired. We are six days away…

1. Bayley and Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte and Nia Jax. Sasha and Charlotte started the match. Nia knocked Sasha off the apron and down to the floor heading into a commercial break a little over five minutes into the match. [C]

The heels isolated Sasha coming out of the break. Bayley took a hot tag and worked over Charlotte to a good reaction from the crowd. Charlotte cut her off with a knee, but Bayley came right back with a side suplex for a two count. Charlotte cut off Bayley on the ropes and clipped her knee before applying the figure four. Sasha broke it up.

Sasha dove onto Nia at ringside. Jax caught her, but Sasha slipped away and ran her into the post. Charlotte kneed Sasha off the apron. Bayley dodged a kick attempt by Charlotte and then hit her with the Bayley to Belly for the win. After the match, Jax roughed up all three women and held up the Raw Women’s Championship in mid-ring before dropping it and leaving…

Bayley and Sasha Banks beat Charlotte and Nia Jax in 11:00.

Powell’s POV: A nice 30-minute showcase of the Raw women heading into their title match. They didn’t really play into the mystery of where Sasha stands during the actual match, but they did a good job of making Jax look like the monster afterward. I forgot to mention that I like the Taker tease at the beginning of the show. It was a creative way to let the audience know that they can expect to see him tonight.

[Q3] The broadcast team narrated highlights of the women’s tag match… Footage aired of the Triple H attack on Seth Rollins. Graves hyped that Rollins will respond to Hunter’s “hold harmless” agreement… [C] A WWE Hall of Fame video aired and focussed on the honorees…

Saxton hyped the Hall of Fame red carpet ceremony broadcast that he and Maria Menounos will be co-hosting an hour before the event. Graves hyped the actual ceremony for Friday night. Cole hyped that USA Network will air a one-hour version of the induction ceremony next week…

Highlights aired of Stephanie McMahon firing Mick Foley last week…

Backstage, Sami Zayn was asked about Foley being fired. Sami said it’s his job to stand up and do what’s right and take on challenges that may seem insurmountable. Zayn said the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal seems like the most insurmountable task. He announced his entry in the match and said he was dedicating his performance to Foley.

Stephanie McMahon showed up and informed Zayn that he would have to earn his way into the match. Stephanie said she wants the trophy on Raw so they need to have the best of the best in the battle royal. She booked him in a No DQ match against Kevin Owens and said that he would be fired if he doesn’t win the match…

Powell’s POV: It was nice to see the broadcast team take a moment to discuss the Hall of Fame broadcast. The company does a nice job with the video packages announcing the entrants, but they don’t always do a good job of consistently hyping the event, especially on the go-home show. This was nicely done and helped sell the network broadcast.

Neville joined the broadcast team and instructed Cole to call him the King of the Cruiserweights…

2. Austin Aries vs. Noam Dar (w/Alicia Fox). Both wrestlers received televised entrances. Neville stood and glared at Aries as he went by. Aries caught a distracted Dar with a running dropkick. Aries pointed at Neville and jawed at him heading into the break.

[Q4] [C] Dar was on the offensive coming out of the break. Dar threw a nice uppercut. Aries came back by kicking Dar to ringside and then by performing a suicide dive. Back inside the ring, Aries performed the discus five-arm. He pointed at Neville, then applied the Last Chancery for the submission win. After the match, Aries stood on the second rope and jawed at Neville, who stood on the broadcast table…

Austin Aries defeated Noam Dar in 7:35.

Cole set up footage of his interview with Triple H from last week with Hunter hyping the hold harmless agreement… A shot aired of Seth Rollins walking with the use of a crutch backstage… [C]

Powell’s POV: Solid hype for Aries vs. Neville. It’s cool that Aries waited until the go-home show to introduce his Last Chancery finisher to the Raw audience. It’s unfortunate that their staredown was interrupted by Cole setting up his interview recap footage. It looked really lame to see the shot of Neville standing on the desk while Cole started reading his setup script. Are they really going to tape the damn ropes at WrestleMania?

An ad for Smackdown hyped the Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles contract signing for WrestleMania, and Bray Wyatt vs. Luke Harper…

More Taker teaser video footage aired. Cole said they saw a cemetery earlier. He questioned whether Taker is digging a new yard for Reigns…

Seth Rollins made his entrance with a brace on his knee and while using a crutch. The ring had a table and two chairs for the contract signing. Rollins picked up a mic and called for Triple H to come out so they could “get this done.”

[Q5] Triple H made his entrance wearing a suit and carrying a folder with the hold harmless agreement. Hunter stood on the apron and said the match is off if Rollins attacks him. He also noted that it wouldn’t go well for him if he did attack him. Hunter told Rollins will sit and listen to the terms of the hold harmless agreement. When Rollins didn’t comply, Hunter threatened to leave and cancel the match. Rollins sat down in his chair and then Hunter joined him.

Hunter explained that Rollins would be signing away the ability to sue him or the company. Rollins said he’s aware of it and told Hunter to sign it. Hunter said Rollins made the right decision when he joined him. He said you only get one shot at life and you take it by the throat and you make it give you everything you want. Hunter said if Rollins wants to grow a conscience then his family will have to understand him giving up the money and working in armories in front of 200 people.

Hunter called Rollins a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. He said the term is so popular because the one legged man never wins. He said Rollins could sign the contract and not miss WrestleMania for the second year in a row, but he guaranteed him that he wouldn’t be walking out.

Rollins said Hunter’s speech was the same line of “bull crap” he feel for a few years ago. Rollins said he liked himself before he met Triple H. Rollins said he didn’t mind wrestling for a hot dog and a handshake at the Philadelphia Armory because he loves the business. Rollins said this isn’t about one match at WrestleMania, it’s about redemption.

Rollins said he gave up everything including all of his friends to stand by Hunter’s side. “And for what?” Rollins asked. Rollins told Hunter he better plan to rip off his leg and he better have a stretcher and ambulance standing by because nothing will stop him from “getting back Seth freaking Rollins.” Rollins signed the contract.

Hunter stood up and teased leaving, then turned an kicked the table into the bad knee of Rollins. Hunter picked up the crutch and waited for Rollins to get to his feet. Rollins caught Hunter with a kick and then set him up for the Pedigree, but Hunter clipped the bad knee. Triple H went for the Pedigree, but Rollins backdropped him over the top rope. Rollins picked up the crutch and hit Hunter with it as he returned to the ring. Rollins held his bad knee while Hunter backed up the ramp…

A video focussed on Goldberg beating Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. Saxton hyped Goldberg and Lesnar going face to face later in the show… [C] An NXT Takeover: Orlando commercial aired and focussed on the three title matches…

Powell’s POV: A good segment that didn’t overstay its welcome. Hunter explained the agreement aspect of it well and Rollins did a nice job of explaining where his character is coming from. The Pedigree teases were well done and they were wise not to have either guy successfully execute the move on this show.

[Q6] A Superstar Facts graphic focussed on Mark Henry’s amateur weightlifting… Cole recapped highlights of the Hunter and Rollins segment… A graphic hyped Triple H vs. Seth Rollins as a non-sanctioned match…

A shot of the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy was shown. JoJo hyped an over the top challenge…

3. An over the top rope challenge. Big Show and Jinder Mahal started the match. Show eliminated Jinder in about twenty seconds. Bo Dallas was out next. Show eliminated him. The Shining Stars came out. Show eliminated them quickly. R-Truth, Golddust, and Curtis Axel came out and attacked Show. The guys who were previously eliminated joined in and they all pushed Show over the top rope and down to ringside.

Cole noted that it took seven men to eliminate Show. He returned to the ring and shoved them all off and then started delivering chokeslams and knockout punches. Golden Truth left the ring to avoid Show. Big Show’s music played and it looked like the segment was over.

Braun Strowman’s music played and he walked onto the stage. Strowman said he could kick Show’s ass if he wanted to, but that’s what everyone wants to see him do. He said he does what he wants and that’s why everyone has to wait until WrestleMania. Show called for Strowman to come to the ring, but Strowman pointed at the WrestleMania sign and went backstage…

Powell’s POV: So the match just ended once Show was illegally eliminated? Sure, why not? I assume they just foreshadowed the final two men in the match, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I suppose Sami is a dark horse.

The broadcast team hyped the Raw Tag Title match for WrestleMania and recapped footage of Sheamus and Cesaro keeping their spot last week… Backstage, Mike Rome interviewed Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson about facing Enzo Amore and Big Cass. They mocked “and you can’t teach that” and hyped their match…

Another Taker video with a man dressed in black digging a hole in a cemetery… [C]

[Q7] Graves hyped the musical acts who will perform at WrestleMania…

Backstage, Charly Caruso asked Roman Reigns about the “ominous signs” from Undertaker. Reigns said he’s a grown man. He said he doesn’t read into signs, worry about mind games, or believe in dead men. Reigns said he believes in the big fight. He said he was going to the ring to tell everyone what he’s going to do to WrestleMania…

The broadcast team set up footage of New Day ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange and then making an appearance in and running the steps in Philadelphia. Cole hyped that New Day will be appearing at ESPN on Tuesday…

Backstage, Rome interviewed Cesaro and Sheamus. Anderson and Gallows attacked them and ran a ladder into both men… Neville made his entrance for a match…

Powell’s POV: It’s not official, but it looks like WrestleMania will end up having a ladder match after all.

An ad aired for the WWE 24 documentary on the night after WrestleMania 32 that will air on WWE Network…

4. WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville vs. Jack Gallagher in a non-title match. Gallagher escaped an early headlock. Neville laughed. Gallagher did his handstand on the top rope and Neville walked into a kick. Gallagher rolled him up for a two count. Gallagher threw two uppercuts at Neville, who came back with a release German suplex going into the break.

[Q8] [C] Gallagher did his Marry Poppins umbrella drop spot from the top rope onto Neville on the floor. Neville came back once they returned to the ring. Neville performed a superplex and applied the Rings of Saturn for the submission win…

Neville beat Jack Gallagher in 7:30.

After the match, an “Austin Aries News Network” graphic appeared. Aries stood backstage and said it was a special news report. He introduced his guests New Day and asked who they think will win the cruiserweight title match. Kingston said success in the ring is determined by a man’s ability to move his hip. Big E told Aries to move his hips. Aries said he was trying to do a serious interview. Aries rephrased the question by moving his hips while talking about the title in New Day style. Neville gave them a golf clap from the ring…

A shot aired of Roman Reigns walking backstage. Saxton hyped his message for Undertaker as coming up next. Cole announced that Al Roker will be the special guest ring announcer for the mixed tag match at WrestleMania… [C]

Powell’s POV: An oddly competitive match for the dominant champion heading into WrestleMania. Worse yet, an oddly cheesy segment involving the challenger. Finally, I’m hopeful that Al Roker will be revealed as JoJo’s father on Sunday. Why? Why the hell not?

A video focussed on Goldberg eliminating Brock Lesnar from the Royal Rumble. Saxton hyped Goldberg and Lesnar appearing face to face later in the show…

[Q9] Roman Reigns made his entrance to far more boos than cheers. Cole reminded viewers that Reigns won a Royal Rumble match in the same venue. Reigns paced in the ring and soaked up the crowd noise. Fans booed, but they showed a few attractive female fans cheering him. Reigns smiled as he recalled winning the Royal Rumble match in Philly and going on to headline WrestleMania twice. The boos grew louder.

Reigns said he thought that was the biggest moment of his career but he was wrong because this year he faces Undertaker. Reigns said he is going to do what no one has done before him. “I’m gonna put the dead man down,” Reigns said. “So this goes for anybody listening and I say this with all due respect… this is my time now.” Reigns said the sold out arena is his house. “Because this is my yard,” Reigns said.

Undertaker’s gong sounded. Footage aired of Take in the cemetery. Taker said the ring Reigns stood in is his yard. He said the grave he is digging is going to be Roman’s yard. He said he carved out a special place in hell for Reigns. “At WrestleMania, the Roman Empire will fall,” Taker said. “And the ultimate thrill ride will be your last ride.” The camera showed a tombstone with Roman’s name and April 2, 2017 on it. Taker advised Reigns to live each day like it’s his last because soon it will be. “At WrestleMania, you will…”

Taker’s gong sounded and the lights wen out. When the lights were turned on, Taker was standing in the ring behind Reigns, who turned and looked him in the eye. “As I was saying,” Taker continued. “At WrestleMania you will rest in peace.” Taker held up his hands and thunder sounded. He lowered his hands slowly as the thunder crackled and the lights came down. Taker’s gong sounded again and the lights went out… [C]

Powell’s POV: There was nothing particularly special about this segment. As much as I am looking forward to the match, I also can’t help but feel like they failed to focus heavily on this being a personal issue caused by Roman having the balls to tell Taker that WWE is his yard now. The graveyard video felt like something Taker would do for any opponent and therefore didn’t feel special. So while I am invested in the match, I don’t feel like they ended the build on a high note, assuming this was the end.

The broadcast team hyped the usual Tuesday and Wednesday programming for WWE Network and then touted Bring It To The Table for Thursday, the WWE Hall of Fame, NXT Takeover, the WrestleMania Kickoff Show, and WrestleMania itself…

Enzo Amore and Big Cass made their entrance. Once in the ring, Enzo boasted that they will walk out of WrestleMania with gold around their waists. He said they practice what they preach. Cass emulated Allen Iverson’s “practice” speech. They closed with an “it’s always sunny in Philadelphia” and were interrupted by the tag champions.

[Q10] Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson stood on the stage. Sheamus and Cesaro came out with a ladder and attacked them from behind. Cesaro had his ribs wrapped. Sheamus brought the ladder to the ring. Cesaro roughed up Enzo. Cesaro and Sheamus worked over Enzo and hit him with the ladder. Cass came back and shoved the ladder into Sheamus, then hit Cesaro with a big boot.

Anderson and Gallows made it to the ring and worked over the babyfaces with the ladder. Enzo was knocked off the ropes with the ladder. Graves laughed and said Philly hasn’t seen a home run like that since Ryan Howard stopped playing. Anderson and Gallows stood tall at the end of the segment…

Powell’s POV: Will poor Anderson and Gallows have to act shocked when their tag title defense becomes a ladder match?

Saxton set up a Women’s History Month video on Maya Angelou…

Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Kevin Owens, who laughed at Chris Jericho thinking he was once his hero. Owens said he was a fan of Jericho. He said Jericho was right to make fun of him for being a fan of his because Chris Jericho fans are morons. Owens spoke about having a chance to send Sami Zayn home for good. Owens said he was going to take Zayn’s career away from him just like Jericho took his Universal Championship away from him. Owens said he will take the U.S. Title from Jericho and make the ultimate thrill ride into Jericho’s ultimate demise…

The broadcast team hyped Rollins vs. Triple H in the non-sanctioned match. Graves hyped a special look at the match for after the break… [C] The broadcast team hyped Graves’s interview with Kurt Angle for WWE Network. Angle’s music played and the fans did the ol’ “You Suck” singalong…

[Q11] Footage aired of the Rollins and Hunter segment from earlier in the show. They set up a video package on the Rollins and Hunter history and feud. The video included a Metallica song… The broadcast team hyped all of the WrestleMania matches. The Raw Tag Title match is still listed as a Triple Threat. They also hyped Braun Strowman and Big Show “and countless others” being in the Dre….

Kevin Owens made his entrance for his match against Sami Zayn… [C] Zayn made his entrance…

5. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn in a No DQ match. Zayn will be fired if he loses the match. They fought to the side of the stage. Owens ran Zayn into the broadcast table. Zayn went to the stage and performed a flip dive off the stage and onto Owens on the floor. [C] The wrestlers were back at ringside coming out of the break. Zayn tore the ring steps apart.

Owens caught Zayn with a DDT on the bottom piece of the steps and followed up with a senton. Owens rolled Zayn back inside the ring and covered him for two. Zayn came back with an exploder suplex. Zayn followed up with his DDT through the ropes at ringside.

Owens caught Zayn with a superkick and covered him for two. Owens performed a frogsplash for two. Zayn came back with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Samoa Joe headed to the ring dressed in his dress attire. Chris Jericho’s music played. Jericho hit Joe from behind at ringside and slammed a chair over his back. Owens caught Jericho with a punch. Zayn rolled up Owens and pinned him…

Sami Zayn defeated Kevin Owens in 11:55.

After the match, Owens attacked Zayn. Jericho hit Joe with a few chair shots. The fans chanted Y2J while Jericho stood in the ring and Joe and Owens backed up the ramp. Jericho took the mic and asked Owens if he knows what happens when you betray Chris Jericho. Jericho added him to The List…

A shot aired of Goldberg’s symbol on his locker room door while the broadcast team hyped Goldberg and Brock Lesnar for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: The fans didn’t seem to buy into the idea of Zayn losing his job. Or maybe they just hoped he would lose and end up on Smackdown.

[Overrun] Graves hyped Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick for 205 Live…

Brock Lesnar’s music played. Lesnar and Heyman headed to the ring. Heyman introduced himself and said he proudly serves as the advocate for the extremist who shall derail Goldberg’s ultimate thrill ride. Some fans chanted Goldberg and Heyman stopped his promo. Once the Goldberg chants stopped, the fans chanted Suplex City.

Heyman said there’s a difference of opinion and it all gets settled at WrestleMania. Heyman said Goldberg will walk down the aisle as the undisputed Universal Champion. Heyman said the title is “everything around here.” He called it the Holy Grail of WWE. He said it means you’re the one centerpiece of the flagship show of WWE.

Heyman said Lesnar wants, needs, and lusts after the title. “Goldberg, you have that title,” Heyman added. Heyman said Sting tried to pull off what Goldberg has accomplished. “Where Sting fell short, Goldberg, you rose to the occasion with dominance and destruction.” Heyman said Goldberg has his respect and admirations and is a real life superhero. Heyman said Goldberg is truly the man.

“But my client Brock Lesnar is The Beast,” Heyman said. He said Lesnar will chew up Goldberg and spit him out at WrestleMania. Heyman said really bad things happen to legit superheroes when they get in the ring with Lesnar. Heyman assumed the fans need a reason to buy the network, a pay-per-view, or a seat. He said it would have to be on the secondary market because WrestleMania is sold out. “Thank you, Brock, for the house,” he said. Heyman said Goldberg is going to Suplex City where they check in, but they don’t check out.

The fans chanted Goldberg. Heyman said that was the last time fans will chant Goldberg on Raw. He said they should rename WrestleMania the death of a superhero. Heyman spoke in Latin and said, “My client Brock Lesnar does not fear the spear.” Heyman said Goldberg can’t survive the F5.

Goldberg’s music played and he made his entrance from the locker room onto the stage. Goldberg stood on the stage with a mic in hand while the fans chanted his name. Goldberg said people didn’t come to listen to them talk, they came to see them fight. Goldberg said he can’t bring everyone in Philly to WrestleMania, but he could bring WrestleMania to Philly.

Lesnar left the ring and Goldberg met him with a spear on the floor. Lesnar sold on the ground while Goldberg held up the title and played to the crowd. Cole questioned what Lesnar has to do to beat Goldberg…

Powell’s POV: The go-home show had its share of quality moments. The final segment was certainly among them. The fears that the Philly fans would turn on Goldberg turned out to be unfounded. Heyman delivered a strong final promo that put some of the focus on the WWE Universal Championship, and the big spear at the end was a really nice call. Most people assume Lesnar will win, so why not plant the seed with casual viewers that Goldberg really does have Brock’s number?

WWE gave attention to each of the Raw brand’s WrestleMania matches. They gave more time than necessary to some and that bogged down the middle of the show, but I appreciate the effort of delivering final hype to everything. I came away from Raw feeling more excited about WrestleMania than I was going in, but I can’t say that my level enthusiasm shot up dramatically as a result of the go-home show. I will have more to say about the show later tonight in my member exclusive Raw audio review. Join me all weekend long for live coverage of WrestleMania, NXT, and the WWE Hall of Fame event. Also, check back on Sunday at 2CT/3ET for the return of the Prowrestling.net Live audio show.



Jason Powell and Jake Barnett co-host the Dot Net Weekly and Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast combo show and discuss Raw Underground and other WWE concepts, The Rock's group buying the XFL, the Marty Jannetty story, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV, and more...


Readers Comments (1)

  1. JoJo’s father, FWIW, is former major league baseball player Jose Offerman.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.