After a disappointing Fastlane the night before, there was much anticipation for WWE Raw. What kind of reaction would Goldberg receive as the new Universal Champion? Would Kevin Owens get his hands on Chris Jericho after he potentially cost him his title? Now that Sunday Night Raw is behind us, let’s go through the best and worst of Monday Night Raw! And then we can all watch Smackdown Live tonight because you know you want to.
The Best of WWE Raw
The Friends of Jericho
Drink it in maaaaaan! The show kicked off with Y2J calling out his former best friend, Kevin Owens. Jericho demanded to know why KO attacked him during their Festival of Friendship, which led to Jericho’s intervention at Fastlane. Kevin stated that Chris was just a tool that he used to ensure his title reign. He was never his best friend!
They both went at it in the ring, and Samoa Joe jumped in to help KO. I can’t wait for the new Evolution stable to be official! Sami Zayn ran down the ramp with a chair and the 4 proceeded to brawl.
Chris Jericho on the microphone truly is a gift. This rivalry with Kevin Owens will lead to their US Title match at WrestleMania, which will probably be one of the great highlights of the night!
Another Great Cruiserweight Title Match
As you can tell from previous posts, I’m a Neville mark. After having the match of the night at Fastlane, Neville delivered yet again. He and Rich Swann pulled out all the stops. I’m really rooting for the momentum of the division, and Neville was the missing variable before.
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived
We had another look at Aries’ beautiful package before the Cruiserweight Championship match! After a spectacular bout, Aries interviewed Neville in the ring. The tension between these two great wrestlers was palpable. Neville threatened to re-break AA’s orbital socket. That’s when Austin’s glasses came off, and the icon made a statement by attacking the King of the Cruiserweights! Loved it. This is perfect for the division and will continue their upward climb in the eyes of the fans.
Bill Goldberg followed up his Universal Championship victory by appearing before a very smart Chicago crowd. CM Punk chants ensued but were interrupted by Paul Heyman. Talk about saving the day. Brock Lesnar entered and faced off with Goldberg in the ring, while Heyman delivered yet another fiery promo. Lesnar delivered an emphatic F5 to his rival, and the place went absolutely nuts!
You can read my feelings about Goldberg’s win at Fastlane and how he does not need a title around his waist to lead to a memorable match against Lesnar at WrestleMania 33. While that was the lowest point of the PPV, it will create some great material leading up to the Show of Shows. The forecast calls for many more spears, jackhammers, and of course an F5 or two.
Bayley vs Sasha Banks
I absolutely love seeing these two in a match together. They put on some of the best performances back in NXT, and they brought it once more to WWE Raw. The match was great, and the implication was that if Sasha won, the championship match at Mania would be a triple threat with those two and Charlotte. Sasha grew more and more violent as the match went on, leading to a clean win over Bayley, and hinting at her imminent heel turn!
The Game via Satellite
Triple H appeared on the TitanTron in an interview and spit absolute fire. He made subtle digs at CM Punk, which were very different from Stephanie’s overt “Punk is a loser. You are all losers, too, for chanting his name.” While talking up his upcoming confrontation at Mania with Seth Rollins, Hunter praised the WWE medical staff as the “best in the world”. Shade.
Y2J Takes on The Destroyer
Both Chris Jericho and Samoa Joe looked great during their match. Joe looked especially strong, and Chris hung in there. The count-out victory was a good call. It gave Samoa Joe the win without pinning Jericho, extending the audience’s sympathy for KO’s former best friend. Jericho delivered the Codebreaker to Joe after the match ended, and the crowd loved it. Good stuff!
When that Gong Hits…
This was my #1 moment of the night. A furious Strowman demanded that Roman Reigns come out to answer for his victory the night before. Instead, the Undertaker made his iconic entrance, and we got an intense faceoff between the Phenom and the Monster Among Men. While I would much rather see Undertaker take on Strowman at WrestleMania, it was great seeing the Dead Man chokeslam a disrespectful Roman Reigns. The only thing to look forward to is Taker making the little dog look silly, though this moment did give me goosebumps!
The Worst of WWE Raw
Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn
I love it when these two compete against each other. There’s a certain magic there that only comes from their long history together and off-screen friendship. My issue is that the magic becomes diluted when they are thrown together for yet another meaningless match. I know we will see at least one more bitter rivalry between them before their WWE runs are up. Nevertheless, I don’t want this to turn into Cena vs Orton part 67.
Tag Team Chaos
I like all 3 tag teams, but this attempt at a feud between Enzo/Cass and Cesaro/Sheamus still doesn’t work for me. Sure, it makes sense for both teams to go after The Club, who are obviously champions. The premise feels cobbled together though, and perhaps they need to invest a little more time into storytelling here.
Give The New Day Something to Do!
I know they are preparing to host WrestleMania, but that doesn’t mean The New Day should be wasted like this. They have no feud. They have no purpose. It’s a slippery slope when you’re just making jokes. Next thing you know, you end up having a tea party with Santino.
Are We Doing the Regret Thing Again?
When Bayley won the Raw Women’s Championship, Stephanie McMahon tried guilting her into relinquishing the title because it wasn’t a clean victory. Bayley said hell no, and everyone laughed and hugged and high-fived! So why would she stand in the middle of the ring with Mick Foley, and talk about how terrible she felt that Sasha helped her beat Charlotte at WWE Fastlane? I just don’t get it.
Roman Reigns fans will disagree with me, and that’s okay. I just want you all to watch Taker staring down Braun Strowman again, and tell me that wouldn’t be a much better matchup than against Reigns. Perhaps next year? Sigh…
Overall, this was a great episode of WWE Raw. It was better than the trend of mediocrity we’ve had until this point. It was substantially better than the previous night’s episode of Sunday Night Raw, that’s for sure.
I am excited about several storylines now. Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho, Austin Aries vs Neville, the Women’s Title triple threat, Lesnar vs Goldberg for the Universal Title and others have me all fired up for WrestleMania!
What about you marks? What did you like or dislike about this episode of WWE Raw?