With Fastlane less than a week away, the pressure is on WWE Raw to get people hyped up. Fastlane is a lower-level PPV, with WrestleMania looming over it in the distance. So, do we sufficiently care about the upcoming event?
The Best of WWE Raw
Goldberg and the Evolution of Kevin Owens
Not long ago, I speculated about the likelihood of seeing KO face off against Lesnar. Now, we are gearing up for a match with Goldberg that is sure to be hit or miss. I don’t see an in-between. The promo was good, and I especially liked Kevin dropping the word “evolution”, hinting at the rumoured heel stable that Triple H is forming.
Samoa Joe vs Claudio Castagnoli
Everyone! Look how cool I am! I know Cesaro’s real name, which he wrestled under during his indie run!
I loved everything about Joe and Cesaro facing off. The confrontation backstage was intense. Joe referred to Vince McMahon’s brass ring comment back on the Stone Cold Podcast. In response, Cesaro declared that Joe carries Triple H’s jockstrap.
Later in the night, the two put on an excellent match. That, my friends, is what you get when you put two great wrestlers together. It also cemented my claim that Cesaro belongs in the main event picture. The Destroyer’s rampage continued with his win, and the brawl with Sami Zayn following the match was fantastic. Let the two NXT and indie greats go at it!
Big Cass Beat Luke Gallows
We finally got a decent setup for the tag title match on Sunday. After a pointless rivalry with Sheamus and Cesaro on recent episodes of WWE Raw, Enzo and Cass faced off against the reigning champs. Event though this felt like a last-ditch effort to make us care, it was better than not making an effort at all.
Crossfit Jesus Made Me Cry
Seth Rollins injured his knee – again. With the chance of missing his second WrestleMania in a row, the air was thick with anticipation as Corey Graves interviewed the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion. In an emotional reveal, Rollins admitted that doctors have not cleared him for Mania.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley then entered with his heavy, Samoa Joe. Rollins and his former mentor faced off, and it felt like the situation was about to combust, with Joe poised to strike on the apron. Ultimately, Seth vowed to be at WrestleMania, doctors be damned! I cannot wait for this match that has been over a year in the making.
The Worst of WWE Raw
Please Stop with the Oscars Jokes
I can usually count on The New Day to bring the humour. However, in a quest to be uber-relevant, they fell flat. I’m more than done with jokes about the best picture mishap at the Oscars. After announcing that they had a match against the Shining Stars, the trio revealed their envelope actually listed Handsome Rusev and Hardbody Mahal as their opponents. The Stars would take on Big Show later on instead. A whole lot of meh here.
Make America Green Again?
Sheamus defeated Titus O’Neil, after an argument they had on Facebook Live. Why? To make Sheamus look strong before Fastlane I guess. Sheamus should be booked as a powerhouse. Even so, continuing to make Titus look foolish and inept, both in and out of the ring, is bad booking. He’s a great talent, and he’s been underutilized for far too long. Is he still being punished for grabbing Vince McMahon’s arm that one time?
CM Punk Doesn’t Care
I’m okay with CM Punk chants. I’ve participated in countless of these at WWE events. However, there is a time and place for everything. Chanting for Punk during Seth Rollin’s in-ring interview with Graves was just disrespectful. You would think that fans of the Straight Edge Messiah would also love Rollins. Thankfully, the noise died out relatively quickly, and Seth was able to carry on. This was just poor taste, WWE Universe.
Imitation is the Best Form of Flattery
After a great confrontation between Braun Strowman and Mick Foley, the subsequent brawl with Roman Reigns was just anticlimactic. While there were a couple okay spots, I expected more violence. It just shows that Reigns is not the worker he needs to be, even against the Monster Among Men. I was not looking forward to their match, and this segment did not change my mind. Also, I didn’t appreciate the blatant ripoff of WCPW, where the top turnbuckle accidentally broke at True Destiny.
— King-Ricochet.com (@kingricochetcom) February 12, 2017
I was not impressed with this episode. WWE needs to focus on making viewers more invested in and excited about smaller PPV’s, not just the big four. I will still watch Fastlane this Sunday, but I’m not 100% sold on why it all matters.