KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
MARCH 6, 2017
LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and “a lady.”
-A video package aired with freeze-frames of Goldberg’s victory over Kevin Owens thanks to Chris Jericho’s distraction.
-Cole introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd. Cole touted the sold out crowd.
-Chris Jericho came out to cheers. He said tonight is the resurrection of Jericho. He said last night he “screwed Kevin Owens out of the Universal Championship, yeah.” He congratulated Goldberg as a quick aside. He said Owens had it coming because he stabbed him in the back at the Festival of Friendship and twisted the knife. He said he ripped his heart out. He said he is angry, hurt, and confused, and he wants to know why. After a pause, Owens’ music played and he came out.
Owens asked if he honestly expects an explanation from him after what he did to him last night. “Are you kidding me?” he asked. Jericho, with increasing volume and intensity, told Owens over and over to be quiet. He stopped just short of calling him a son of a bitch. He asked why he betrayed him. Owens said the truth he was never actually his best friend, so he didn’t actually stab his best friend in the back. The Chicago crowd erupted into boos. Jericho looked crestfallen. He said Sami Zayn actually was his best friend and he would do it again and again. He said Jericho was actually just “a tool.” He said he used him because the night he became Universal Champion, Triple H told him everyone is coming for him so he should do whatever it takes to keep the title.
He said he looked around and decided to get someone to watch his back, and he needed that person to know what to expect and know what they were doing and having been there before. “But more importantly, I needed that person to be gullible,” he said. “And, if it makes you feel any better, Chris, you were a perfect tool, until you outlived your usefulness, and that happened the second you accepted the match against Goldberg on my behalf. That second you went from a tool to burden and you had to go. That’s why I did it, Chris. Are you happy now? Is that is what you are looking for? You got your answer.”
A “Goldberg” chant started. Owens said he can talk about Goldberg, too. He said he could have beat him and he would have outsmarted him if not for Jericho. He said he is man enough to admit it is Jericho who outsmarted him last night. He said at the Festival of Friendship, he spared him because he could have made sure he’d never walk again, but he let him walk away “for your family, because I am a good person.” He said letting Jericho walk away that night was the biggest mistake of his career and he’ll never make it again. He said the biggest mistake in Jericho’s career was costing him the title at Fastlane.
Jericho said the biggest mistake he ever made was trusting him. He said eight or ten years ago he would have done the same thing to him, but he would have done it first, quicker, and better. He said he was complacent and liked the idea of having a best friend. He said he no longer needs Owens because he has thousands of friends in the arena tonight – buddies, pals, and Friends of Jericho. “Cheer me on, man!” he said. He got cheered. They, of course, cut to a crowd shot of fans smiling and clapping. A loud “Y2J” chant broke out. He said what he did last night doesn’t make them square and it’s actually just the beginning. He said Fastlane is the beginning of a long and winding road that twists and turns and leads to Owens vs. Jericho at WrestleMania 33. He pointed at the sign. The crowd chanted “Yes.” Jericho said the crowd liked it. Owens said he doesn’t care what they like.
Owens said he’ll get the Universal Title back when the time is right whenever he wants a rematch. But now all he can think about is taking the U.S. Title away from Jericho. “So Chris, you want me at WrestleMania, no problem,” he said. “Just put that title on the line.” Jericho said, “Mmmokaydone.” As Owens turned to leave, Jericho said with WrestleMania a month away, why not get it on in front of 15,000 right now. “What’s stopping you?” he asked. Owens laughed and said what’s stopping him is nothing. He charged to the ring. They fought. Samoa Joe promptly ran into the ring and attacked Jericho. Sami Zayn ran out to even the odds, plus he brought a chair. With Jericho tossed to the floor, Sami battled both Joe and Owens with a chair, but he was soon overwhelmed. Jericho entered and hit Joe with a very weak looking chairshot to the back. He “made up for that” by stiffing Owens with a chair across the head and shoulder. He followed with a body shot. Owens fell to the floor and covered his head. Joe retreated. Jericho’s music played. Cole excitedly said for Owens and Jericho, this is just the beginning of a long and winding road to WrestleMania. [c]
(Keller’s Analysis: That worked for me. I’d have to backtrack the timeline again to see if there’s anything that jumps out inconsistent with Owens’ explanation, but overall this made Owens out to be a conniving heel from the start and Jericho a bit gullible but not to the point that he looks foolish because the fans bought Owens’ sincerity, too. They also covered the loose thread of why Owens would want to face Jericho for the U.S. Title before getting his Universal Title rematch. Jericho seemed likable, but also honest in saying the version of him eight or ten years ago would have done to Owens what Owens did to him. I think if anything, I would have wanted Jericho to sell being shocked and hurt a little bit more. He seemed to shift to accepting that the friendship was never real pretty quickly. Even just a line by Jericho saying he believes Owens might have started out not being his friend, but he knows they had genuine good times and formed a real bond, and Owens only broke it because of X, Y, or Z – such as thinking Jericho was catching on to him or jealousy over Jericho being more popular. The meeting Triple H had with Jericho the evening before he turned on him should have been a more significant plot-point that explained why he turned when he did. There’s also the little detail that, as much as Jericho was the victim here, he was overtly cheating to help Owens keep his title and, as with Seth Rollins’s flawed turn, the heel dumped the babyface here in the feud which means the babyface would have probably kept cheating to help Owens didn’t decide to break up. It’s like Seth and The Authority, unfortunately, in that respect.) [c]
(1) SAMI ZAYN vs. KEVIN OWENS
The match was joined in progress. The announcers talked about Owens’ explanation for turning on Jericho. Graves said Jericho was gullible. Cole said Owens was Universal Champion because of Jericho. Graves said it worked to perfection for six months. A couple minutes in, Sami hit a flip dive over the top rope. Saxton said Sami wasn’t going to let Owens buy time, he was going to bring the fight to him. Owens caught Sami with an immediate Pop-Up Powerbomb as soon as Sami returned to the ring. He hit a couple more methodical moves and then hit a second Pop-Up Powerbomb and scored the clean three count.
WINNER: Owens in 5:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: No eye rake, no nothing to protect Sami there. He hits a flip dive, eats a Pop-Up Powerbomb, and then loses clean a few moves later. It’s fine, but notable. Considering Owens is being rebuilt a bit after the loss last night and built to a “money match” at WM33, whereas Sami is an affable upper-mid-card utility guy at this point, it’s not surprising or necessarily wrong. Sami’s day will probably come where he is a higher priority. He’s too talented.)
-The announcers plugged that Jericho would face Samoa Joe one-on-one later. They also plugged that Goldberg would be out later. The crowd booed. Uh oh. And they also plugged Rich Swann challenging Neville for the Cruiserweight Title next. [c]
-Austin Aries replaced Saxton on commentary. He said: “Back by popular demand, it’s not a good package, it’s not a bad package, it’s thee package, my package. Take a look.” Graves cracked up. They aired the video package.
(2) NEVILLE vs. RICH SWANN – WWE Cruiserweight Title shot
Swann went after Neville aggressively at the bell. He dropkicked Neville out of the ring, but then went right after him and reverse whipped him hard into the ringside barricade. Cole exclaimed, “Swann is on fire! He loves to have fun, but tonight it’s all business.” If they never say Swann “loves to have fun” again, that will be good for Swann. Neville came back and threw Swann over his head at ringside and his head hit the mat. He landed in a sitting position, which was odd. Neville threw him head-first into the digital ring apron next. They cut to a break early. [c]
Swann made a comeback with an enzuigi and then he hit a top rope flip dive onto Neville at ringside. Swann gave Neville a Michinoku Driver for a near fall. The ref checked on Neville afterward. Neville met Swann on the top rope with an elbow to the side of his head. Then he hit a top rope superplex. Swann resisted making one of his usual cartoon faces. He looked out of it and rolled to the floor. Neville threw Swann into the barricade. They cut to another break at 9:00. [c]
Cole said Swann just won’t go away. Graves said Neville has an answer for every flurry by Neville. Swann caught Neville with a superkick for a believable near fall. The crowd was into this. He kicked Neville and then set up the Phoenix Splash. Neville moved, then quickly covered Swann for a believable near fall. Neville then transitioned into a Rings of Saturn for the tapout win, although it must’ve been verbal because Swann’s hands were tied up.
WINNER: Neville in 14:00 to retain the Cruiserweight Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. One of the better Cruiserweight TV matches to date. Too bad there were two commercial breaks. They won over the crowd that might have checked out before the next “anchor segment” with bigger stars. Neville is really good in this lead heel role.)
-Aries interviewed Neville mid-ring. The crowd chanted “Austin Aries!” He thanked Chicago. He asked Neville for his thoughts on his last 24 hours. He said he has done what he said he’d do. “To everyone who doubted me, look at me now!” He said he has laid waste to pretender after pretender, and now it’s undeniable – no one on 205 Live holds a candle to him. Aries said he has done everything he has said he’d do. He asked him to clarify if he really can’t think of anyone who is competition. Neville said, “Nobody.” The crowd chanted “Austin Aries.” Or was it “T.J. Perkins”? Nope. It was Aries! Neville stared down Aries and said he cannot be seriously suggesting himself. He said he is delusional if he thinks he’s at his level. He said he’s running out patience for him, so he told him to see himself back to his little announcer desk so he can “make cheap little jokes to entertain the universe.” He said this is his ring. “I suggest you get out before I re-break your orbital socket.” Aries removed his sunglasses and showed the results of the damaged orbital socket. Aries said he’s just doing his job. Neville kept spraying saliva in Aries’ face as he asked him what he’s going to do about it. Aries said he just wants to ask him one more question. He seemed humble and trying to refrain from escalating things. But then he said it’s not so much a question as it is a statement. He popped Neville in the face with the mic. Then he gave him a spinning elbow. He yanked off his shirt and watched as Neville fled the scene.
(Keller’s Analysis: This is the feud that all of the revived Cruiserweight Division was building toward ever since Neville became a strong centerpiece heel. What great timing to have it in Chicago where bellwether fans who know Aries’s history set the tone that Aries is a big star.)
-Enzo complained to Big Cass backstage that they got bamboozled. Cass said they need to concentrate on their rematch tonight, so don’t sweat the past. They crossed paths with Cesaro and Sheamus. When he asked if they have a “cuppa-haters,” Cesaro said it’s actually a “cup of coffee.” Puns! Cass told Cesaro & Sheamus to watch them win the tag team titles later. Cesaro said they will watch them either win or choke. Enzo said he sensed some sass “Sass-are-o.” Enzo said they only thing they’re choking on is champaign because they’re going to be celebrating the tag title win later. Enzo poked Cersaro with a reference to his loss to Joe last week.
-They showed Goldberg’s nameplate on his locker room backstage. Graves said he’s live next. [c]
-Goldberg made his way through the backstage area to the stage where he was swarmed by sparks and fog. He wore the Universal Title around his waist. He was introduced as the “Newwww Universal Champion!” Cole said, “Spear, jackknife, 1-2-3 as Goldberg did what he promised.” He added that the win set up an epic title match at WrestleMania. Graves said fantasy warfare has turned into a surreal reality, but now The Beast awaits. Goldberg got a mixed reaction when he held up his belt mid-ring. Once the boos intensified, his supporters cheered louder. He thanked the fans and said without them, he couldn’t have done it. He said he stands before them a very humbled man. He said he is the new WWE Universal Champion. Lots of mixed reactions between every pause including boos. He said he had something to reveal he has never said before. Then came a loud “C.M. Punk!” chant. He nodded along and said, “Yeah, I hear that.” He was interrupted by Paul Heyman, saving the moment. I don’t know if that was the scripted moment to come out or not, but Goldberg might not have been trusted to improvise well in that moment.
Heyman introduced himself. He said fans shouldn’t confuse him with someone who is man enough to go to the ring and even attempt a handshake with the new Universal Champion. He said his hand is the hand that should be shaking Mr. Goldberg’s. He said he didn’t come to Raw alone. Big pop. He said he is the advocate for the challenger on Apr. 2. Out came Lesnar to a monster pop. Or a Beast Pop, perhaps. He wore a “Suplex City – Chicago, Ill.” t-shirt. Lesnar circled the ring and then entered it. Heyman tentatively stepped between the ropes. Lesnar and Goldberg had a stare down. Saxton said Goldberg isn’t intimidated. Graves said neither is Lesnar. Heyman introduced them to each other. He said Lesnar came out to shake his hand and congratulate him. He said his client understands how happy he must be having devastated and demolished Owens last night. He said the only person happier is his client. He said Goldberg has proven to be every bit the Beast that Brock has proven to be and every bit the Conquerer. He said each of them will enter the ring at WM33, but only one walks out as the winner. He said the other will walk out as the loser. No one pronounces Leww-zerr” like Heyman does.
Heyman said he doesn’t deal in predictions, he deals in spoilers. He said at the end of the match, there will be a new reigning and defending Undisputed Universal Champion. Goldberg stared him down and twitched. The crowd talked along with Heyman as he said Lesnar’s name. He said at the end of the match, they can all look at Goldberg and says, “There he is, Brock’s bitch!” Lesnar offered a handshake, but when Goldberg looked over at Heyman, Lesnar gave him Goldberg an F5 mid-ring. Goldberg let go of his title belt just in time. Heyman and Lesnar left and Goldberg struggled to get to his feet. He let out a big yell in anger as sweat dripped off his head like crazy. What is up with that?
(Keller’s Analysis: That was fine. I mean, the match in a way sells itself so they have to be careful not to do any harm. Having Lesnar give him an F5 makes sense at this stage considering Goldberg’s the one with all the offense lately. What do they do the next three weeks? And what was it that Goldberg was going to reveal that he had never said previous, before the “C.M. Punk” chant seemed to override that part of the segment.)
-The announcers shifted to recapping Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman from Fastlane. [c]
-Enzo and Cass came out for their match doing some mic work on the way to the ring. Enzo said they didn’t come to Chi-Town looking for pity. He said they came looking for championship gold. Cass listed each year Michael Jordan won the NBA Title. The crowd chanted “How’a’ya’ doin?!” after each year. Then SAWFT. Graves said, “The winners of Best Panderers on Earth go to these two.”
(3) KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS vs. ENZO AMORE & BIG CASS – WWE Raw Tag Team Title match
Cole said it was a “scandal” that kept Enzo from winning last night. Graves said he calls it fantastic tag team wrestling, an example of great tag team awareness by Anderson & Gallows. A minute into the match, Cesaro & Sheamus walked out. Cesaro was still sipping his coffee. [c]
Cass rallied after the break. Cole said he might be closing in on the tag team titles, so certainly a title change wasn’t about to happen. Gallows broke up Cass’s pin attempt. Enzo dove onto Gallows at ringside and almost went head-first into the ringside barrier in a bad way. He turned in time. Enzo went bonkers as he celebrated, knocking coffee out of Cesaro’s hands. It splashed all over him and Sheamus. Cesaro charged into the ring and swung at Ezo, but hit Anderson.
WINNERS: Anderson & Gallows via DQ in 7:00 to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles.
-All six brawled in the ring afterward. Graves said Anderson & Gallows would be declared the winners because of Cesaro & Sheamus made contact with Anderson first, “intentionally or otherwise.” Good to hear announcers bother to give the official finish and explain it. Enzo jumped onto Cesaro’s back. Sheamus gave Enzo a big boot. Cesaro and Sheamus celebrated over Enzo’s body. Cole said they made their point.
-A video aired announcing that the late Rick Rude would be entered in the WWE Hall of Fame this year “as first reported earlier today by Bleacher Report.” Polite applause from the crowd. Natalya, Rick Steamboat, Booker T, Shawn Michaels, Christian, and John Cena commented in the video, the theme being men hated him and women swooned in his presence. Cena said he could steal your girl and kick your ass.
-They showed the inductees. Interesting to see DDP on the far right, next to Beth Phoenix, with Rick Rude and Teddy Long next to centerpiece Kurt Angle. The Rock & Roll Express were on the far left.
-Grave hyped Bayley coming up next. [c]
-Backstage Foley and several referees got between Enzo & Cass and Sheamus & Cesaro. He said they don’t settle things backstage at Raw, they settle it in the ring. He said they’ll wrestle next week on Raw, the winners going on to face Anderson & Gallows at WrestleMania. He said now he’s going to try to have a nice day Stephanie McMahon walked up to him and sternly asked him to follow her to her office.
(4) AKIRA TOZAWA vs. ARIA DAIVARI
Cole said Aries is not with them for this match because of what happened earlier with Neville. Tozawa caught his foot on the middle rope as he dove to the floor a couple minutes into the match, but it didn’t slow him down too much. Daivari took control in the ring briefly until Tozawa caught him with a snap German suplex.
WINNER: Tozawa in 2:00.
-Tozawa called Brian Kendrick to the ring and face him right now. He had his mouth guard in as he said it. He then began barking. Kendrick walked out. He said he cannot make any promises, but he’ll have an answer for him tomorrow at 205 Live. He said the lesson to be learned is the same as the dog that chased his tail, finally caught it, and bit down – “Be careful what you wish for.”
-The announcers hyped Jericho vs. Joe with Sami and Owens banned from ringside.
-The Smackdown commercial hyped follow-up on Randy Orton’s turn against Bray Wyatt last week, and Orton vs. A.J. Styles where the winner faces Bray for the title at WrestleMania. [c]
-The New Day rolled out their ice cream cart. Big E was licking the ice cream cart as if he was ‘shrooming big time. Xavier Woods introduced the New Day Pop-Cycle. Kofi said, “A mouth full of magic, I’ve got to have it.” He said if they let their voices be heard, their dreams will come true.
(5) THE NEW DAY (Big E & Kofi Kingston w/Xavier Woods) vs. THE SHINING STARS
Some early dives by New Day at ringside. Back in the ring, they won quickly. Saxton said when New Day ice cream comes out, he’ll have the world’s biggest brain freeze. Graves said he has a traffic jam of insults to deal with in response.
WINNERS: New Day in 1:00.
-For Women’s History Month, a video feature aired on Lita and Trish Stratus with today’s women wrestlers, Stephanie McMahon, and Chris Jericho talking about their impact. [c]
-Mick Foley stood in the ring as the crowd chanted “Foley! Foley!” He introduced Bayley. Graves said he wants to start a “Not My Champion” Twitter protest. The announcers recapped what happened at Fastlane, and the controversy in the end.
Bayley said it’s 24 hours later and she wishes she could call herself a champion tonight. She said she specifically asked Charlotte to leave Dana Brooke in the back so they could find out who was really the best. She said everyone saw what happened with Sasha. She got emotional as she said she is trying to wrap her brain around all of this. She said she has to move forward and look ahead to – point at the sign – WrestleMania. Growing up said she didn’t start in January and end in December. She said her year always started and ended with WrestleMania. She said she will be wrestling at WrestleMania, but it just doesn’t feel like it should and it doesn’t feel right. Foley said this time of year it doesn’t matter how you get there, it only matters where you are going, and she is going to WrestleMania. He said all that matters now is who will her opponent be. She said something off mic to Foley as Sasha Banks’s music played.
Sasha said Mick brought up a great question, and she has the answer. She said just because Dana was in the locker room doesn’t mean she was going to stay there. She suggested that they wrestle at WrestleMania. Bayley smiled. Foley said it sounds like a good match, but he wanted a second opinion from the fans in Chicago. Cheap pop. The crowd cheered. Graves asked, “Since when does the crowd make the matches?” Charlotte’s music interrupted.
Charlotte and Dana walked out. She said whomever lost at Roadblock wasn’t going to get a second chance. Charlotte explained that Sasha didn’t think Bayley was good enough to beat her. She said she used her and pretended to be her friend, “and it worked.” Charlotte said she is the victim in this conspiracy. She said last night she was robbed of her title and of her pay-per-view streak. She said Mick doesn’t care as long as his “two favorite daughters are going to WrestleMania.” She asked the crowd if they buy into the Sasha and Bayley friendship. Stephanie’s music interrupted.
Stephanie walked out. She said Foley is not the boss, and neither is Sasha Banks. “I am,” she said. A loud “C.M. Punk” chant broke out. She called them predictable. She said they’re all just like C.M. Punk: “You’re all losers. And you always cheer for the wrong person, just like Sasha Banks.” Steph said Sasha is the most manipulative person in the locker room so she can get her hands on the Women’s Championship at WrestleMania. A very loud “C.M. Punk” chant broke out. Steph power-talked through it and said Foley must admit that Bayley wouldn’t be champion if not for Sasha’s interference. She said Charlotte should get the title shot. Foley told Steph that she can’t leave “The Boss” out of WrestleMania after the year she’s had. He proposed next week on Raw, Charlotte faces Sasha with the winner getting a match against Bayley. Stephanie said Foley has a gem of a good idea, but she’d make it even better. Stephanie said Sasha will have a chance to earn her way into the championship match at WrestleMania. She said if Sasha wins next week, it’ll be a Triple Threat. She said that means Bayley could lose the title without being pinned or submitting. Stephanie then ordered Bayley vs. Sasha to happen right now. Good thing they were dressed in wrestling gear, unlike Dana and Charlotte. [c]
(6) BAYLEY vs. SASHA BANKS
Charlotte joined the announcers at the table on the stage. Graves told Charlotte she must be rooting for Bayley so she only has one opponent at WrestleMania. Charlotte said for sure, especially because Bayley has never defeated her fairly. Saxton said controversy aside, Bayley has beat her four times. Charlotte said Sasha was involved every time. Graves took exception with Saxton trying to put the controversy aside. Saxton pointed out that Dana was involved on behalf of Charlotte. Graves told Charlotte not to dignify that with a response. Charlotte stressed that if Bayley wasn’t the champion and she was instead, Sasha would never get a title shot. Cole said Charlotte hasn’t won on pay-per-view without controversy more than once. They cut to a break with Sasha in charge. [c]
Back live, Charlotte said she is confident she can win the Triple Threat format if it comes to that. Sasha forearmed and elbowed Bayley in the face coming out of the corner. Things picked up as Bayley suplexed Sasha hard to the mat in response. Charlotte had enough of Saxton and got up and left. Eventually Sasha applied the Bank Statement mid-ring. Bayley crawled over toward the bottom rope. Charlotte and Dana came to ringside. Dana distracted the ref as Charlotte attempted to interfere against Sasha. Sasha kicked her and then reapplied the Bank Statement mid-ring for the tapout win. Cole said Charlotte didn’t want the Triple Threat, but she’s going to get it after all.
WINNER: Sasha in 11:00.
-Afterward Charlotte attacked Sasha during her celebration, and then she took Bayley down. She grabbed the Raw Women’s Title belt and held it up. Cole wondered if Charlotte would become a five-time Women’s Champion at WrestleMania.
(Keller’s Analysis: The finish was confusing because it almost seemed as if Charlotte was trying to keep Bayley away from the bottom rope, not break the hold. I mean, Bayley was about to reach the bottom rope without help from Dana and Charlotte, so they could have achieved what they wanted by just staying out of it. I guess the argument was Sasha was vulnerable while applying her hold.) [c]
-The lady without a name interviewed Roman Reigns backstage. She asked what he has to say to Braun who says he’ll finish what he started. Roman said he’ll be in the ring at the end of the night and will be easy to find.
-They went to the announcers at ringside who threw to clips of the Seth Rollins in-ring interview last week. Then they aired a video package on Seth’s rehab training at Champion Sports Medicine and Birmingham, Ala. The trainer said he’s training three times a day for seven hours a day. Seth said the therapy is a full time job. “I want this more than anything, to get back and be at WrestleMania.” He said he’d do anything to make it happen. They showed him straining as he pushed through the pain and exhaustion. He said he has dedicated his entire life to WWE and he has nothing to do except rehab.
-Cole welcomed Triple H to the show via satellite. He asked him for his reaction to the training video and Seth’s promise to make it to WrestleMania. Triple H said you’ve got to take your hat off to WWE because the world class care they provide to their athletes is second to none. He put over Kevin Wilk, the trainer. He said WWE spares no expense when it comes to the welfare of the talent. He said they just have to hope Seth listens to the experts and what they’re telling him and utilizes that advice. He said last week when Seth said he’d be at WrestleMania no matter what, he took it as ignorance. He said its stupidity. He said Seth lies to himself all the time. Triple H said he didn’t pick nicknames for himself; he claimed people called him The Cerebral Assassin, The Game, and The King of Kings “because it was obvious.” He said Seth called himself The Man because nobody else will call him that because “it’s the furthest thing from obvious.” He said he thinks he can turn that lie into truth because WrestleMania is “where dreams come true.” He warned Seth that if he shows up at WrestleMania, it’ll be the last thing he does.
(Keller’s Analysis: So were fans nodding along at the sense Triple H was making or did they get excited to see Seth return and knock the arrogance out of him at WrestleMania? That’s often the “catch” when it comes to heels putting themselves over that much in the context of demeaning the babyface with what ends up sounding sort of like the truth within the WWE narrative. The whole thing about the world class treatment WWE gives to its athletes was very odd. He was wearing two hats in that promo. Was that meant to be a dig – in Chicago – at C.M. Punk’s complaints about WWE’s disregard for his well-being?)
-Samoa Joe made his ring entrance. [c]
-A vignette teased the return of Emma soon. Graves said, “No, not this again.”
-Highlights aired of the show-opening segment that set up this match.
(7) SAMOA JOE vs. CHRIS JERICHO
Joe took it to Jericho early with a running charge in the corner and then an enzuigiri. He tossed Jericho over the top rope, but Jericho landed on his feet and climbed to the top and leaped onto Joe. Joe brushed it off and senton splashed Jericho for a two count. Jericho countered a mat hold with a leverage pin attempt and then a set up for the Walls of Jericho. Joe powered out with his legs. Jericho hit Joe with an enzuigiri. He took him down with a dropkick. Joe rolled to the floor. Jericho dropkicked him off the ring apron as he began to return. Jericho then did a slidekick, but Joe side-stepped it and applied the Coquina Clutch at ringside. He dropped down to the ground as the ref began his count. He let go and rolled into the ring to beat the count, with Jericho passed out on the floor.
WINNER: Joe via countout in 3:00.
-Afterward, Joe threw Jericho into the ring, but Jericho surprised him with Code Breaker to redeem himself. Jericho’s music played as Joe snarled at ringside.
-They showed a determined Braun walking backstage and heading to the ring to confront Reigns. [c]
-Braun entered the ring and said he wants Reigns to come to the ring so he can rip him limb from limb. He said he got lucky last night. “Chicago doesn’t like you and neither do I,” he said. Some fans chanted “Yes!” He yelled “Roman!” The Reigns music played. Then came boos. Then came Undertaker’s bell. The crowd cheered. The Taker special effects took over. Taker walked up to Braun. A “Holy sh–!” chant overrode the latest “C.M. Punk” chant. Braun stepped back and out of the ring. The crowd booed. The fans chanted “Un-der-taker!” Braun left through the crowd. Was that a show of respect or fear? Taker’s bells sounded and then Reigns’s music played. Eruption of boos.
Reigns took his time getting to the ring. “Roman sucks!” chanted the crowd. He said, “Braun wasn’t calling you out, Dead Man. He was calling me. So with all due respect, this is my yard now.” He snarled as he punctuated “my yard.” The loudest “Roman sucks!” chant of the night broke out. They looked up at the WrestleMania sign. Taker then chokeslammed Reigns. The crowd cheered. Taker adjusted his jacket as Cole exclaimed “Chokeslam!” (his first word of the segment), and then said, “This is what WrestleMania season is all about! The original Big Dog is back to reclaim his yard.” Taker walked to the stage and threw up his arm. The crowd cheered.
(Keller’s Analysis: I think Taker will be cheered against Reigns at WrestleMania. Just a hunch.)
NOW CHECK OUT THE FREE PWTORCH LIVECAST RAW POST-SHOW HERE. I hosted the show and talked with callers about Raw, including three who were in attendance at the event. Later this week join me for the Smackdown Pos-Show live right after Smackdown, Wednesday at 1 ET live with Sam Roberts of the “Sam Roberts Podcast,” and then Thursday at 1 ET live with Jim Ross.