By John Moore
WWE Raw Talk
Aired April 3, 2017 on the WWE Network
-Raw Talk was a continuation of Raw with Michael Cole introducing the show with Corey Graves and Byron Saxton. This was still ringside from the Amway Center. Finn Balor gave hugs to his parents while slapping hands with the fans in the front row.
-Cole talked about the big news being Kurt Angle with Corey Graves saying he was excited to see Angle based off of his many accolades. Cole also mentioned the “Superstar Shakeup” between WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown that will happen next week. Cole announced that Jerry Lawler and Renee Young will be taking over this show with guests Bayley and the Hardy Boyz.
-Goldberg came out to the ring with his full long take entrance sans the security detail. He was also in street clothes. Various production crew members clapped for him on his way to the Gorilla Position. Cole called the past few months a “storybook ending” to Goldberg’s career while pointing out the various accomplishments of his current WWE run which included defeating Brock Lesnar and winning the WWE Universal Championship from Kevin Owens.
-Goldberg was showered with his signature Goldberg chants. Goldberg declared that this was more of a real moment and not a part of the show which drew cheers from the crowd. Goldberg said the facts were in October he was approached to make a return after 13 years. He said he had to think about a lot like physical limitations, age, and desire. Goldberg said this is not a damn script and he was speaking from the heart so he would appreciate it if the crowd listened. The crowd gave a polite applause while obliging.
-Goldberg said the crowd wants that invincible son of a bitch that they saw 13 years ago but the fact is things changed a little bit. Goldberg said he’s still that guy but his focus has moved completely to his family. Goldberg pointed out his wife and son in the crowd. Goldberg said as human beings we can accomplish great things. Goldberg said that doing it for his family… and the WWE Universe, was the right reason. Goldberg said they gave him an opportunity to show a part of his life nobody has ever seen. Goldberg said he was the luckiest guy in the world to show his family and new fans a little piece of what he used to do.
-Goldberg said you can boo or cheer him but the fact is that little boy right there (his son) is the reason why his heart still beats, the reason he wakes up in the morning to go to the weight room to drive himself into the ground to make himself into something his son could be proud of. Goldberg’s son showed some tears. Goldberg said we’ve set out what we accomplished to do and he hopes he and his family can appreciate the opportunity that he was given by the fans and the back because it was once in a lifetime.
-Goldberg said he loves his family more than can be quantified. Goldberg said that is evidenced by him living in the guy, the bathroom, and the dinner table for the past six months so he can be a little glimpse of what he used to be. The fans gave him a respectful Goldberg chant.
-Goldberg called his son to the ring who slipped over the barricade to the ground. Goldberg joked that his son even takes bumps already, even one more bump that Goldberg’s taken in his entire career before Sunday. Goldberg said the crowd here can be different while making the people in the ring stumble on their words. Goldberg reiterated that this was from the heart and not a part of the show.
-Goldberg talked about being immeasurably proud to have the chance to take the Universal Title to his son’s school. Berg said that there is nothing anyone in the planet can do to take that from him and his son. Goldberg said you can boo or cheer him but at least it shows people care and that Goldberg has done something.
-Bill Goldberg said this could possibly be the last time you see him in the ring and some people might appreciate that. The crowd respectfully booed that notion. Goldberg said as he’s said, he’s here for his family and as long as they appreciate he will fight, push, and train to do whatever it takes to be Goldberg. Goldberg referenced “the debacle” of WrestleMania 23 and said that last night was a good makeup.
-The crowd gave Goldberg “yes” chants at this point. Goldberg said he still had a glimmer of the old Goldberg and that glimmer gave him hope that he can succeed. Goldberg said since he still believes he’s one of the biggest and baddest som bitches on this planet, you never know what or who’s next. Goldberg then put the mic down to give a final (?) to the crowd. Goldberg then took his son to the turnbuckles to pose and his son even got a pop from the crowd by dapping.
-Goldberg told the backstage to turn on his microphone which was deactivated at this point. Once the mic recovered, Goldberg told the audience that he had one more thing to say. Goldberg told the crowd to “never say never!” which drew a pop. Goldberg then embraced his wife at ringside and gave her a kiss. Goldberg also took his son around ringside to slap hands with the fans. Goldberg’s wife was shown on camera trying to keep a smile but covered in tears. Michael Cole thanked all of the fans for making WrestleMania week and Raw such a great event. Michael Cole then shifted the show to Renee Young and Jerry “The King” Lawler.
John’s Thoughts: Say what you will, but it would be impossible to argue that Goldberg’s 2016-2017 run wasn’t successful. To tangent a bit, with the psychology of the Taker vs. Reigns match and the last Goldberg, coupled with the release of the Logan movie, I can’t help but draw parallels between the two mediums and how we’re seeing the story of the aging veteran on his last ride in several POVs. Back to Goldberg’s promo, it was wonderful and heartfelt. He may come off as a meathead at times, but when he speaks from the heart you can’t help but at least shed some inner tears for his motivation and desire to be a role model and family man. Props to the Amway center crowd for eventually being respectful. One little detail that made this moment even better was his entrance got to enter that minor chord second moment which adds to the tear jerking potential of this moment. Put on top of that, this does seem “real” with Goldberg saying that Survivor Series was “last” but now going back to “next” because he was so touched and inspired by his family. A great moment that you should go out of your way to see.
-Back to Raw Talk, Renee Young and Jerry Lawler checked in from the red version of the Talking Smack set. Lawler pointed out how we expected a farewell but Goldberg picked up the microphone to pull back on that.
-Renee transitioned to the crowd booing Roman Reigns. Lawler called it ten minutes of boos. Lawler talked about being old school from a time where people booed the bad guys while cheering the good guys. Lawler said he and Renee know that Roman is legitimately a good guy. Lawler said Roman took the boos like a champ and followed up with a five word promo.
-Bayley was the first guest on the set. Bayley said this week has been crazy and she’s feeling so many emotions. Renee then asked Bayley about the lead up and Axxess. Bayley said nothing compares to living that week as Raw Women’s Champion. She then brought up her media appearances, which included the announcement of the WWE Women’s Tournament. Bayley also talked about meeting a baby and a dog too!
-Renee then transitioned to talking about Kurt Angle. Bayley talked about growing up watching people like Kurt Angle and Beth Phoenix while she grew up. Bayley also talked about fangirling over Kurt Angle knowing her name and talking to her while she was doing pushups.
-Lawler talked to Bayley about not being the same Bayley as she was six months where she was the underdog at that time. They recapped the final moments of the WrestleMania match. Lawler said Bayley has arrived and is no longer the underdog. Bayley said she doesn’t want to put titles on anything unless it’s the Raw Women’s title. Bayley called her fatal four way opponents the top women in the WWE.
-Lawler if Bayley was saying that she was satisfied now with that moment. Bayley said she wasn’t satisfied and will keep moving. Bayley said one day she wants to be in the Hall of Fame. Renee then asked if the long ramp at WrestleMania helped her soak in the moment. Bayley joked about slipping on a Bayley Buddy. Lawler pointed out how it was 80 yards. Bayley talked about how the whole thing was great.
-Renee Young then transitioned to talking about the Hardy Boyz return. Bayley talked about posting photos of doing the Hardy Boyz sign. Bayley said she used to get in trouble herself for slapping her face in PE with her Hardy pendant. She also pointed out how her math teacher disliked the Hardy symbol on her homework because it looked like gang signs. Bayley said she hasn’t had a chance to have a full on conversation with the Hardys due to the intimidation. This ended the Bayley interview.
-Renee asked Lawler about his thoughts on the Undertaker moment. Lawler called this more emotional than the Lesnar loss. Lawler said we saw Undertaker hanging it up in front of our eyes. Lawler said this was a literal version of leaving it all in the ring.
-Matt and Jeff were the next guests on the show and Matt wasn’t “Broken” of course. He did say “wonderful” but in his calm regular Matt voice. Jeff and Lawler joked about Jeff being sore from the weekend. Matt said winning the titles was intoxicating. Jeff talked about being nervous before the curtain. Renee said the moment felt right.
-Matt Hardy talked about being hidden the whole time before Mania where they got out of a bus and went straight to the ring. Matt said it was the right time to come back to WWE. Renee wondered why it was right. Matt said he and Jeff took time up to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally. Matt said they were the Hardy Boyz before and they are probably the Hardy Men now.
-Renee dug about where the Hardy’s before for the past few years. Matt Hardy used this to talk about the Hardy’s “Expedition of Gold” where they won all of the tag team championships everywhere they worked and winning the WWE Tag Team Championships was a good conclusion to that expedition due to the prestigiousness. Jeff called his daughters the Hardy Girls while Matt is about to have Hardy Boys with a second son on the way. Jeff said being a father was great.
-Jerry Lawler told the Hardys to not grow up too much because it’s a trap! Jeff pointed out his daughter wears an “It’s a trap!” shirt (it must be an Admiral Ackbar one). Matt joked about wanting to freeze Maxel to stay two years old.
-Renee asked the Hardys about the WWE Tag Team landscape. Jeff said walking through the curtain was like walking through a portal to the future with all of the new technology WWE has now. Lawler pulled Jeff to talking about tag teams like the Revival. Matt said it’s fun because there is a new crop of opponents like The Revival, Enzo and Cass, Cesaro and Sheamus, or the Club. Matt said this was going to be fun and a chance to prove the Hardys were the most exhilarating Tag Team in history. This concluded the Hardy segment.
-Renee tried to talk about Finn Balor. Lawler talked about Kurt Angle instead. They then quickly moved to the “Superstar Shakeup”. Lawler said he has no insider information. Lawler recapped being shocked when Jim Ross was drafted to Smackdown unbeknownst to them. Lawler and Renee tried to talk about more things but the production crew hit the outro music and forced Lawler and Renee Young to cut off and end the show.
John’s Thoughts: Even though it would be preferred to have WWE honor roster boundaries with Renee as the host of Talking Smack, you can’t blame them for using her since she’s arguably the best interviewer in pro wrestling. Lawler has his own cringeworthy moments but he was good tonight. One could imagine what a Booker T and Charley Caruso panel would have done. Overall, a good show that obviously was cut short for time due to Goldberg being given the open mic time. You can’t blame Renee and Lawler for not sticking to one point in the last minute because they were being cut off before they can go over topics. In another note, it’s interesting to see that Matt Hardy is no longer “Broken” and more so just making references to the Broken Universe. Jeff is not Brother Nero, but Jeff’s alternate palette swaps were never that good to begin with. Jeff as himself is one of WWE’s most marketable babyface, up there with John Cena. I hope WWE allows Matt Hardy to have a singles run on top since he had some great creative runs as Big Money and Broken.