This week’s episode of Monday Night RAW emanated from Green Bay, Wisconsin, airing live on the USA Network on February 27, 2017. This was the "go home" show, heading towards the red brand’s exclusive WWE Fastlane pay-per-view on Sunday, March 5. 2017. For full results of the show, check out the amazing Reverend Kain’s live blog.
The Evolution Of KO
The show opened tonight with an appearance by the number one contender for the Universal Championship, Bill Goldberg. He addressed Kevin Owens’ message to him last week, stressing how much the Champion talked (there was way too much talking on this show). Goldberg promised the WWE Universe, his family, God, and the Champ that he would leave Fastlane as champion and will defend the title against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 33. This brought out KO, who remained near the entrance, far away from Goldberg in the ring.
KO talked about making a promise to grab WWE by the throat and he did just that. The Champ went down his list of accomplishments to Goldberg, including WWE Superstars Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn, and John Cena. Ol’ Billy Boy is right. Owens talks a lot. But he was pretty good here. Goldberg was not about the talking, though, and called KO down to the ring to fight. Owens refused, saying Green Bay did not deserve to see him fight. This was a decent opener to hype their match this Sunday. These two have not physically touched at all to build this match, which adds to the intrigue of what will happen.
Somebody I Used to Know
Sheamus and Cesaro were backstage, going over their match the previous week, when Samoa Joe appeared and quickly got into a verbal confrontation with Cesaro. Joe was ruthless in his critique of the Swiss Superman’s WWE career. Cesaro did not stay silent for this and the two had a great back-and-forth. When Joe came across Foley backstage later, the GM set up the match of Samoa Joe versus Cesaro. Commentary mentioned how these two have a long standing rivalry.
Cesaro came out swinging against Joe to start the match. Joe grounded the Swiss Superman by attacking his knee. This match was very hard-hitting. The two certainly got across that they are familiar with each other in the ring. The offense from both men was brutal. Cesaro pulled off some amazing feats of strength. My only complaint is they did not get much time. Samoa Joe won the match with a standing Uranage.
Joe came to hurt people. He was explaining as much in a post match interview when Sami Zayn ambushed him. This lead to a great brawl which saw Zayn fly off of the entrance ramp to get at his nemesis. Security could barely hold these two back. They will meet in a one-on-one match at Fastlane.
This world doesn't need a HERO it needs Monster!!!!! #monsteramongmen #FastLane— Braun Strowman (@BraunStrowman) February 27, 2017
I like Braun. He's neat. pic.twitter.com/3FRS776XqR
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) February 28, 2017
I like Braun. He's neat. pic.twitter.com/3FRS776XqR— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) February 28, 2017
How Do You Stop a Monster?
The Man Event tonight was actually a "contract signing" between Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns for their match at Fastlane. Braun actually requested the signing as he wants everything in writing as he feels he is close to breaking Reigns and the Big Dog will bow out. Foley proceeded over the contract signing. Braun was out first and told Foley to "leave or else".
Braun talked down to Foley and the Hardcore Legend snapped. Strowman backed the GM into a corner. This is when Reigns came out and the two immediately began brawling outside of the ring. They brawled through the crowd. Reigns got some shots in but Braun owned the majority of the brawl. Reigns put down Braun temporarily by spearing the monster through the barricade. Afterwards, he got into the ring to sign contract.
But Braun was up on his feet. He got into the ring and came at Reigns again. STROWMAN THREW REIGNS INTO THE CORNER SO HARD THAT HE MADE THE TURNBUCKLE BREAK OFF!!! He strutted away from the ring and turned around to see Reigns pull himself up and sign the contract anyway. Braun was the monster who appeared indestructible while Reigns was a man who refused to quit trying to destroy the monster. Another good segment to end the show.
Seth Rollins: Good Guy
Corey Graves entered the ring for the final hour to introduce Seth Rollins, who was making his first appearance since his injury at the hands of Samoa Joe. Before Rollins arrived, a long video package of Rollins’ history with Triple H was shown. Rollins came out on crutches and actually contemplated whether or not his current fate was one of his own making. Seth Rollins spoke about regret for ‘selling out’ and how he ha blamed others for his failures.
Rollins should have given this speech a long time ago. He did not apologize to the Shield directly but he at least displayed remorse for what kind of person he was after the group split up. As for his medical status, Rollins said "it doesn’t look like the doctors will clear me for WrestleMania."
The COO of WWE, Triple H, came down to the ring to gloat and make fun of his former protege. As Triple H ran his mouth, Samoa Joe came out of nowhere. They surrounded Rollins in the ring. The Game told Rollins "You’re smart. You know how this goes." He called Rollins washed up and worthless. This was genuinely the first good segment of the show. Triple H told Rollins not to come to WrestleMania and call him out because he is done "playing" with him. If Rollins shows up, it will be the last thing he does in a WWE ring.
Rollins promised to be at WrestleMania and threatened to end Triple H the same way he was threatened. This was honestly the best I have seen Rollins in quite some time now. Good job all around here. The added danger of Joe in the background while Triple H was talking made this segment, by the way.
Other Segments and Matches:
Women’s Division: Charlotte Flair and Nia Jax versus Sasha Banks and Bayley was announced for the show. Commentary played up Charlotte’s 16-0 undefeated pay-per-view streak in championship matches. So the odds are Flair will defeat Bayley this Sunday in her rematch for the RAW Women’s Championship. Before the match, Charlotte called Bayley a "one hit wonder". Ha! That is nothing like a "one night stand", is it?
Bayley, Charlotte, and Charlotte had a long talking segment in the ring before the match. It was mostly filler and did not add anything new or original or even slightly entertaining to this angle. Except that Dana Brooke is literally furniture at this point as she is not allowed to talk or wrestle at all anymore. Why was she just standing out there?
This was an okay match. Nia and Charlotte were in control for most of the match. Sasha was great as the face-in-peril. Bayley got the hot tag but Jax cleaned house and pinned Bayley with a legdrop to get the victory for her team.
A while after the match, Stephanie ran across Sasha and Bayley backstage. She informed Sasha that she will face Jax at Fastlane.
Tag Team Division: Big Cass pointed out to Enzo that the duo has never won a championship while their opponents at Fastlane, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, have won championships around the World. Cass faced off against Gallows in a battle of big men. I love good beef versus beef match and this match was fine. Big Cass won the match to give his team momentum for their title match Sunday.
New Day versus
The Shining Stars Rusev and Jinder Mahal: So, I kinda want New Day to debut ice cream at ‘Mania at this point. Also, the Shining Stars were spoofed in a fashion similar to the Best Picture Category at Sunday night’s Academy Awards. The Stars were named as New Day’s opponents only to be told after they had come to the ring that they have match against Big Show later. Xavier Woods got a roll up on Mahal for the win after an unnecessarily long, mostly boring match.
Foley is Bad: RAW Commissioner Stephanie McMahon called General Manager Mick Foley into her office to . . . well, she pretended to be friendly, even apologizing for how she treated him last week. Then, her attitude turned on a dime, McMahon told Foley he was an embarrassment, a shell of his former self, and that even he has to admit he has not been living up to his own expectations. Foley only stood there with a dopey look on his face. For the rest of the night, he stated several times that he would probably be fired soon.
Cruiserweight Division: The first CW match was Arika Tozawa versus Noam Dar. Before the match, a vignette of Brian Kendrick and his "lessons" for Tozawa were shown. Also, the CW tag team match of Rich Swann and Tozawa versus Noam Dar and Kendrick was announced for Fastlane. Alicia Fox was ringside for this fun TV match that saw Tozawa pick up the victory with a snap German suplex. After the match, Kendrick attacked Towaza from behind, calling it "lesson number three". So, basically, Kendrick is going to be Towaza’s mentor whether he likes it or not.
Later, the WWE Cruiserweight Champion, Neville, teamed with Tony Nese versus Jack Gallagher and TJ Perkins. Tony Nese was treated like a whipping boy in this match and lost for his team via submission from Gallagher.
Titus O’Neil versus Sheamus: This match was set up on the company’s Facebook page. Sheamus won with a Brogue Kick in a match that happened.
Big Show versus the Shining Stars: This was a quick squash match. Big Show won the match after beating up Primo and Epico.
2017 WWE Hall of Fame inductee: Congratulations to Beth Phoenix, who was named as the latest inductee to the Hall of Fame.
Final Thoughts and Opinions:
This show had a lot of filler. Most of it was not even entertaining filler. I would not say anything was really terrible. Nothing really happened that made me look forward to Fastlane any more or less. It was just there.
I get the story that they are going for in the Women’s division. I suspect a Fatal 4 Way is in order for the RAW Women’s Championship at the grandaddy of them all. It really feels like Nia is being forced into an existing story. I realize she has been around and involved with Bayley, Charlotte, and Sasha but she does not feel on their level yet. Hopefully that will change soon.
Samoa Joe may be Triple H’s hitman but RAW is still the KO Show right now. Whether or not Goldberg cancels it on Sunday, the Champ is coming into his title match with a huge chip of his shoulder. I really appreciated the segment with Rollins. I have been waiting for WWE to give me a reason to root for him. He was remorseful in reflecting on his WWE Championship run because of how he got there.
Something that always annoys me about this show is how they will spend weeks building certain matches and then book others at the last minute. Four matches were announced on this show for Sunday. This show seemed poorly laid out. It was hard to keep interest all three hours this week. Rollins’ segment, KO versus Cesaro, and Reigns/Strowman’s contract signing were all stuffed in the last hour.
All in all, most of the show was pretty boring.
Your turn, Cagesiders! Hit up the comment section with your thoughts?