After last week’s Raw, you could have guessed that Mick Foley’s time as Raw GM wasn’t going to last much longer. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened this week as Stephanie McMahon lowered the boom.
The other major happening on this week’s show was Roman Reigns getting revenge on The Undertaker for what happened two weeks ago, building up more to their WrestleMania clash.
Here’s what happened on another Raw that had some decent things, but nothing terribly exciting.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman had no finish, thanks to The Undertaker
Reigns wrestled in the main event against Braun Strowman. The match was set up last week when Reigns was standing on the ramp, Strowman attacked him from behind and Reigns went tumbling into the railing by the ramp. Reigns and Strowman each delivered promos before their main event match to show that they were both ready for a fight.
The match went about 10 minutes without a finish. I thought they might do something where The Undertaker’s “gong” and music hit, leading to Strowman winning. Instead, they decided to not have either guy lose the match, leading to a confusing end to the night.
Strowman was booked in a dominant way like usual. Every time Reigns tried to get going, Strowman was able to overpower him. Reigns came back with two Superman Punches to stun the big game. As Reigns set up for a Spear, the lights went out, the “gong” hit and when the lights came back on, The Undertaker stood between both men.
After staring at Reigns, Undertaker grabbed Strowman, who was battered after taking the Superman Punch twice, and hit a Chokeslam. That led to Strowman rolling out of the ring. Undertaker had this look on his face expressing frustration because as he turned around, Reigns was there waiting with a Spear to knock the “Deadman” down. Reigns left up the aisle looking triumphant while Undertaker sat up in the ring, did his throat slash gesture and let Reigns know he had more left in him.
— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) March 21, 2017
The booking was exactly as you would expect around WrestleMania. We have seen it many times with one guy getting the advantage one week, the other guy coming back a week or two later and getting his revenge. Next week, they’ll likely have another face-to-face encounter.
Strowman’s role at WrestleMania is not known at this point. He’ll likely be in the battle royal and win it, but they haven’t even announced him in the match yet.
Mick Foley was fired as General Manager of Raw
Last week’s Raw ended with a segment where GM Mick Foley said he wanted to fire Commissioner Stephanie McMahon. He’s not allowed to do that, so he was hit with a low blow by Stephanie after Mick applied the Mandible (Socko) Claw to Triple H.
Foley started off the show reading index cards as he apologized for his actions last week. After he was done, he complained about how he was handed the cards 10 minutes before he went out there and that he never needed index cards. Foley ranted about it. The fans were totally behind him until his microphone was shut off, so he wasn’t heard. Stephanie McMahon showed up to massive boos. The crowd tried to shut her up by booing loud, but she talked over them. She said her father’s infamous words to Foley: “YOU’RE FIRED!”
Sami Zayn showed up after the firing. He stood up for Foley, who told him he appreciated it, but he had to think about himself. Stephanie told Zayn she didn’t like him and put him in a match against Samoa Joe, which Zayn lost.
After his in-ring segment, Foley left the arena. He was shown backstage as he said his final goodbyes. Foley was hugged by the likes of Sami Zayn, Cesaro & Sheamus and Bayley. All of them were put in matches as punishment for being nice to Foley. Triple H showed up at the end to say “have a nice day” in a smartass way since it is Foley’s catchphrase.
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) March 21, 2017
I thought Foley did a good job as GM for the most part. The problem with Raw is the poor booking that doesn’t allow anybody on the show – especially the faces – to get over in a positive. Why are we pretending like Cesaro & Sheamus as a team is a good thing? Their match on this show was ridiculously short. They had a brief title reign. Neither man has been elevated from it. Zayn is the worst-booked guy on the show and should be doing so much more. Crowds care way less about Bayley than they did a few months ago. Foley’s a good on-air performer, so he’ll be missed. He needs hip replacement surgery, which is the main reason he was written out of this role.
The rumor is that Kurt Angle could be the Raw GM after WrestleMania. He’s a great talker who would do well in the role. It would allow him to be a regular on television while also leading to a few matches during the year, assuming WWE is smart enough to book him that way.
This Week’s Raw Matches
Samoa Joe defeated Sami Zayn
The match was set up during the opening segment. This was the best match they’ve had on the main roster. Zayn took a beating like usual, had a mild comeback and didn’t really come close to winning. He didn’t even get to hit Blue Thunder Bomb for a near-fall like he always does. Zayn went for a corner charge, Joe dropped him with a uranage slam (like a Rock Bottom) and Joe applied the Coquina Clutch to win by submission after about 12 minutes.
At some point, WWE has to realize Zayn has the potential to be a top face, right? They sure don’t book him that way. At least Joe has been booked strong as a top heel. He’s on a similar path that Braun Strowman and Nia Jax have been on. It’s much easier to book heels like that.
This was the best match of the night by far, but it wasn’t a standout match either.
Charlotte Flair defeated Dana Brooke
What an awful match this was for three minutes. Brooke’s offense looks terrible and nobody cared about her. Fans chanted for Paige whose popularity is due to private photos/videos being hacked. Sorry fans, but she’s still out of action due to injury. Anyway, Charlotte won with a big boot to the face because Dana is easy to beat.
I hope WWE’s writing team paid attention. This long storyline had a terrible pay off and did nothing for either character. They need to do a better job of telling these stories because the fans don’t care.
Brian Kendrick defeated T.J. Perkins
Kendrick won in about two minutes thanks to a hair pull (yes, really) and a Sliced Bread #2 neckbreaker. Perkins has fallen fast after being the first Cruiserweight Champion last year.
After the match, Kendrick revealed that he had stolen the Passport of Akira Tozawa, which prevented Tozawa from traveling to the show. What a dumb angle. It’s painful how bad some of the writing is on Raw. At least nobody feuded over a role in the Jetsons/WWE movie this week.
Nia Jax defeated Bayley in a No Disqualification Match
The match was set up because Bayley was nice to Mick Foley. Jax beat her last week, so they did it again with the No Disqualification stipulation. Also, if Jax got the win then she would be added to the Raw Women’s Title match at WrestleMania.
Jax dominated most of the match. Bayley got some offense in, but not a lot. Jax whipped her into the barricade at ringside a few times. There was almost the use of a chair, although Bayley kicked it away from Jax. The crowd was dead for this match. They chanted other things, did the wave and weren’t paying attention. Jax hit a Samoan Drop to win after 10 minutes.
The booking of Bayley in the last few months has been awful. Yes, she won the Women’s Title at Fastlane, but since then had clean non-title losses to Sasha Banks and Jax twice. That probably means Bayley will retain at WrestleMania. However, WWE has to realize the crowd is losing interest in her because it happens every week where the fans seem to focus on other things.
Cesaro & Sheamus defeated Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Enzo Amore & Big Cass
It was a 2-on-4 match with a stipulation that if Cesaro & Sheamus lost, they would be out of the tag title match at WrestleMania.
The match went about one minute as Gallows & Anderson attacked Enzo & Cass. That allowed Cesaro & Sheamus to capitalize on the chaos with Sheamus hitting a Brogue Kick to win. The tag title triple threat match is still on.
The intros took about three times as long as the actual match.
Austin Aries defeated Tony Nese
Aries got the win since he’s in the Cruiserweight Title match against Neville at WrestleMania. Nese was in control for most of it, Aries came back with the Discus Fivearm (that’s the name, since it’s better than a forearm) and won after about seven minutes. Only four minutes aired due to a commercial.
After the match, Neville appeared on the ramp to talk trash. Aries fired back and the crowd rallied behind him. I like both guys. They should have a great match at WrestleMania if they are given time.
Other Key Items From Raw
1. Video packages on Goldberg and Brock Lesnar aired
For the second week in a row, Universal Champion Goldberg wasn’t on the show. In his place, WWE aired two video packages to set up his WrestleMania match with Brock Lesnar. The videos were fine, but they really didn’t make me care about the match any more than I did previously. They used seven minutes of TV time to cover their history, which is really WrestleMania 20 from 13 years ago, Goldberg beating Lesnar at Survivor Series last year, Goldberg eliminating Lesnar from the Royal Rumble in January and Lesnar’s F5 earlier this month. That’s really it.
If you’re wondering, Lesnar was there and used after the show. He gave Big Show a F5 to end the night. Why fly him into the building to not put him on the show? I don’t understand WWE’s thinking when it comes to things like this. It’s like they don’t want to create interest in their matches.
It was advertised that both men will be on Raw next week in a face-to-face segment on the last show before WrestleMania.
2. Chris Jericho exposed the “real Kevin Owens,” leading to another cheap attack from Owens
Chris Jericho hosted his “Highlight Reel” talk show to mock Kevin Owens. He showed a picture of Owens as a teenager at his house wearing a Y2J shirt, a Jericho poster on the wall and a buxom blonde (not Pam Anderson) on the wall as well. Oh, memories of the 1990s — I miss those days. Anyway, Jericho noted that he wasn’t KO’s best friend, he was his idol. Jericho also showed direct messages the two men exchanged in July 2014 when Owens signed with WWE and Jericho advised him to just be himself. That was Jericho’s ways of telling us who the real Owens was.
Jericho talked about how this will be Owens’ first singles match at a WrestleMania. He noted how Owens will have to deal with a lot of things that night, such as 70,000 people, the nervousness that comes when he sees Jericho make his entrance and how Fastlane hurt Owens because it cost him the Universal Title, but WrestleMania against Jericho will hurt more. I thought Jericho did a great job with the promo, which is no surprise since he’s one of the best talkers ever.
As Jericho spoke in the ring, Samoa Joe stood in the aisle to distract. Kevin Owens attacked Jericho from behind and hit a Popup Powerbomb from behind. With Jericho on the ground, Owens ripped up the “List of Jericho,” which drew boos from the crowd. Goodbye to the List of Jericho, you had a nice run.
I like how Owens has been booked as a serious heel for the last few weeks. No more joking around or being a comedic heel. He’s a mean guy who wants to cause pain. It’s how he should be portrayed.
3. Triple H set up his WrestleMania match with Seth Rollins
There was an in-ring interview segment with Triple H conducted by Michael Cole to start the third hour. Earlier in the night, Seth Rollins’ doctor was interviewed and said he would be surprised if a doctor cleared him for WrestleMania, but he knows how determined Rollins is.
Triple H did a promo re-hashing everything with Rollins. Fans chanted “CM Punk” at him, Hunter got through it and kept going. After 10 boring minutes of talking about the same things he says all the time (his promo last week was much better), Hunter came up with an idea for a match with Rollins. He suggested that next week Rollins comes to Raw and signs a “Hold Harmless agreement” for an Unsanctioned Match at WrestleMania. The reason Hunter wants him to do that is to prevent Rollins from suing Hunter, Stephanie or the company when Rollins gets hurt again. In other words, they can have a brawl without having a real match.
Rollins should be ready to go for WrestleMania and they’ll make it official next week. It’s a smart move to make it more of a fight instead of a match because then they can hopefully protect Rollins from further damage.
Looking Ahead To WrestleMania
— WWE (@WWE) March 21, 2017
The next WWE pay-per-view event is WrestleMania 33 in Orlando, Florida on April 2. Here are the matches announced for the show.
WWE Universal Championship: Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
WWE Championship: Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
Seth Rollins vs. Triple H – Unsanctioned Match with contract signing next week.
AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon – Not official, but likely.
United States Championship: Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens
John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse
Raw Women’s Championship: Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin – Should be official this week.
Cruiserweight Championship: Neville vs. Austin Aries
Raw Tag Team Championships: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Enzo & Cass vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss vs. other Smackdown women – match type not yet confirmed
Andre the Giant Battle Royal – Some of the names announced so far are Big Show, Mojo Rawley and Apollo Crews. I think Braun Strowman will win it.
That’s 13 matches and if they include the Smackdown Tag Titles, then add one more to it. Going to be a very long night, my friends.
There are some WWE fans who believe Raw is often better this time of year because WrestleMania is around the corner. What the last two weeks of Raw proved is that it’s a myth for people to think that. This show felt like the all-time leader in terms of airing long video packages, replays of things from the previous weeks or earlier in the show and there were several filler segments that bored me.
What made Raw fresh in its prime was the excitement and unpredictability. These days, everything is too predictable to the point that fans are losing interest even when we’re less than two weeks away from WrestleMania.
You may notice that I didn’t even mention the unfortunate situation between Paige, Xavier Woods and former WWE star Brad Maddox. Late last week, some photos and videos belonging to Paige were leaked online. They featured explicit sexual acts between Paige and Maddox from a few years ago when they were in NXT together. Woods is also in a video with Paige.
While some people may enjoy that sort of thing, it is an invasion of privacy. Paige’s family has written about it on social media, noting that she isn’t doing well. I don’t blame them for being mad. There were some chants for Paige during this show and a quick New Day segment where they hyped WrestleMania. Other than that, it wasn’t mentioned. I hope the story goes away soon. Although in today’s world, that may be difficult.
— WWE (@WWE) March 21, 2017
Next week’s Raw will feature Seth Rollins signing a contract for a WrestleMania match with Triple H and a Goldberg/Lesnar face to face showdown on the last Raw before WrestleMania.