KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
FEBRUARY 20, 2017
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. AT STAPLES CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves, and some women not mentioned by name
-A six minute video recap aired of the Festival of Friendship from last week.
-Kevin Owens sat mid-ring with a spotlight on him as the crowd booed his name as he was introduced. He said now that the spotlight is solely on him, he can answer the question of why – why he thinks he will retain the WWE Universal Championship at Fastlane. He said when he was 15 years old, if someone had told him one day he’s defend his WWE Universal Title in the main event of a PPV against Goldberg, “I would have asked them ‘What is the Universal Title?'” No, he didn’t say that. He said, “I’d have told them they were crazy.” He said he would have believed that he was headlining a PPV, but he wouldn’t have believed who his opponent was. A “Goldberg” chant started.
He said Goldberg never impressed him as a kid, and he doesn’t now. He said the only reason Goldberg embarrassed Brock Lesnar is because Lesnar took him lightly “and Bill got lucky.” He said that won’t happen to him because he knows exactly what to expect and what to do. He said nobody thinks he has a chance of keeping his title at Fastlane, but he’ll prove everyone wrong. He said he knows he is walking out still as champion. He said the longer the match goes with Goldberg, the more the scale tips in the favor of Goldberg’s opponents. He said this won’t be a 90 second match. “This is my match, and in my match, I don’t have to beat you, I just have to outsmart you and everyone including you, Bill, knows that in that department, you don’t even come close to me because I know how to play the game better than anyone else.” They zoomed in close on Owens throughout the interview.
He said he waited to be a champion in WWE his entire life, and now that he is, there is nothing he will not do to keep it that way. He said Goldberg said he returned to show superheroes still exist. He said won’t be a prop in his little super hero fantasy. He said at Fastlane he will show him, his son, and everyone else super heroes don’t exist. He stood up, put his red belt over his shoulder, and moved the chair to the side. He looked back at the hard camera and said at Fastlane, the fans will chant for him and he can bark “You’re next!” all you want, but he’s just wasting his time. “As far as I’m concerned, you’re nothing,” he said.
“As far as Chris Jericho goes…” he said. He dropped the mic and left. Cole said Owens was not offering any insight on why he attacked his former best friend.
(Keller’s Analysis: Stellar delivery. Great content. Shifted focus to Goldberg. Avoided explaining Jericho, leaving that as a cliffhanger. This is the “money” version of Owens, and he made the Fastlane match much more compelling.)
-Cole hyped Big Show vs. Braun Strowman taking place later. Saxton hyped Big Cass & Enzo Amore taking on Sheamus & Cesaro for a no. 1 contendership spot for the tag titles.
-A Smackdown ad aired hyping the battle royal to determine the challenge for the WWE Title. [c]
-Enzo and Cass walked out. Enzo did his routine. Sheamus looked bored out of his mind leaning on the top rope watching.
(1) ENZO & BIG CASS vs. SHEAMUS & CESARO
The bell rang for the first match 24 minutes into the first hour. Cole called Sheamus “highly athletic.” I mean, he is by most real world measures, but that’s not the description that comes to mind when touting his style in a pro wrestling context. Graves said he’s a big fan of Cass, but he needs to choose a new partner. Cesaro gave Enzo a running elbow against the ringside barrier before they cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, the action spilled to ringside again. Sheamus chased after Enzo, but Enzo slid into the ring. Cesaro caught him with a surprise uppercut for a near fall, broken up by Cass.
(Keller’s Analysis: It was one of those stupid situations where the ref stopped counting to three despite Enzo’s shoulders still being pinned to the mat. The “save” by a partner should lead to a loss of leverage by the guy on top resulting in the guy on bottom lifting his damn shoulder. If Cesaro is still on top of Enzo and then Cass stomps on Cesaro’s back, who cares – just finish the third count, then scold Cass afterward. That has always bugged me. Makes the ref look dumb. It works when the guy underneath lifts his shoulder because of the “save.”)
Enzo tagged Cass who battled Cesaro. Cesaro signaled for the Cesaro Swing, but Enzo interrupted. Cole said, “Enzo, like a gnat, ruining everything.” Well, that tone suggests Enzo is supposed to be seen as the heel here. That gave Cass the opening to give Cesaro a turning side slam for the win.
WINNERS: Enzo & Cass in 9:00 to earn a WWE Raw Tag Team Title match at Fastlane.
-Afterward, Enzo said they’re looking at their new no. 1 contenders. He called Cesaro and Sheamus “chicken tenders.” He obnoxiously said they are their kryptonite. Sheamus attacked him with a Brogue Kick. Crowd wasn’t sure how to respond that at first. But then a “Thank you, Sheamus” chant gained some steam.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s interesting that the crowd is siding with Sheamus against Enzo. Says a lot about how Enzo’s character has travelled in the last few months.)
-Backstage, Mick Foley caught up with Owens and told him he can’t leave yet because he has to face Sami Zayn later. Owens said he must not like Sami, and he better be careful or he’ll end up with more wrestlers injured in his locker room.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m curious where this leads Owens’ character. Can he shift from lite comedy fun “sports entertainment” with Jericho into being a Prizer Fighter Badass Pro Wrestler who goes from amusing people on TV to drawing money in the ring? I think so, if this is an indication of how he’s framed going forward.) [c]
-They went to the announcers on the stage, who threw to an extended video package on Bayley’s backstory as a fan and then the finish last week where he won the Raw Women’s Title. Cole then showed a Tweet saying that if Bayley is who she says she is, she demanded she relinquish the belt and return it to her. Saxton said they’ll hear from Bayley later and they’ll find out live if she is willing to give up the title.
-Backstage Foley said to someone on the phone that one of the greatest guitarists in the world is his guest on Raw. In walked Roman Reigns to a chorus of boos. Foley said Strowman vs. Show is “literally one of the biggest matches” they’ve ever had on Raw, so he has to wait until Fastlane. In walked Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. Anderson said they have some unfinished business. Foley told Reigns if he finds himself a partner, he’ll book the tag match. Reigns said he doesn’t need a partner, he’ll take care of them alone. Foley got in his “cheap pop” by mentioning Anderson & Gallows have their hands full “right here in Los Angeles, California.” [c]
-The Brian Kendrick made his ring entrance. Austin Aries joined the announcers at the desk. Well, he took Saxton’s chair. They aired a clip from 205 Live of Kendrick proposing he mentor Akira Tozawa. Tozawa said, “No!” Kendrick attributed that to a communication breakdown. Tozawa said, “I understand. I don’t like you.” Kendrick made an Angry Cartoon Face.
THE BRIAN KENDRICK vs. AKIRA TOZAWA
Tozawa refused to shake Kendrick’s hand. Kendrick insisted. When Tozawa made a move to shake his hand, Kendrick attacked him before the bell. Kendrick then applied his Captain’s Hook submission. Tozawa wears a red and white mouthguard. Aries asked, “What’s wrong with his teeth?” Aries said that’s what happens when you disrespect Kendrick.
RESULT: The match never officially started.
-Cole hyped Reigns vs. Anderson & Gallows was up next.
-A woman interviewed Kendrick. He called her Charly. He said nobody disrespects him. He said when he offers to mentor a kid with a lot of learning to do, and he refuses, he teaches him a lesson about respect. [c]
(2) ROMAN REIGNS vs. KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS
Reigns came out to boos. Saxton said Reigns wants to be in the grind leading into his match against Strowman at Fastlane. Graves said this could be detrimental. Reigns hit Gallows with the Drive By. Gallows settled into a chinlock on Reigns at 3:00. Gallows grabbed a chair at ringside. Cole said they want to hurt Reigns in a bad way. Reigns kicked the chair out of Gallows’s hands. He also knocked Anderson down. Reigns looked down at the chair and then picked it up. Cole said he’ll get himself DQ’d. He didn’t care. He jabbed a charging Anderson and then bashed Gallows across the back with it three times. Anderson interfered. Cole said Reigns was taking out his anger and frustration on them. Reigns speared Anderson out of mid-air. They cut to fans reacting in the crowd. Cole sold it huge. His music played as Graves said he lost via DQ. Cole defended Reigns, saying he didn’t introduce the chair into the match.
WINNERS: Anderson & Gallows via DQ.
-The announcers on camera hyped Show vs. Strowman, then threw to a clip of Owens in the opening segment. [c]
-They showed The New Day announcing on the TMZ TV show that they’ll be hosting WrestleMania this year.
-New Day came out. Big E poured cereal into the mouth of a fan at ringside. Xavier said they have quite a bit of news for them. He said his YouTube Channel is about to hit one million subscribers. He told everyone to subscribe if they haven’t already. He said he’d be cohosting this year’s gaming awards. He said all three of them have been working on their voiceover skills so they can be the hyena for the next Lion King movie. He said they’re also working to bring the fans New Day Ice Cream. He said last but not least, “your boys shall be hosting this year’s spectacle, this year’s phenomenal, this year’s WrestleMania!”
(Keller’s Analysis: As if their gimmick hadn’t overtaken any sense that they care about wins and losses and actual wrestling, this promo seems like a retirement announcement because they have too much else going on in their lives.)
Kofi Kingston said Bo Dallas destroyed the blueprints for their New Day Ice Cream machine. He said fear not because they have photographic memories and have put the blueprints back together. He said they went digital this time. He held up a tablet. Xavier said it’s secured and encrypted so only they can get their hands on it.
Lana stood in the ring with Rusev and Jinder Mahal. She showed off that she managed to steal their plans on her iPad. Big E said that’s impossible and didn’t seem worried. She began reading the plans out loud which included two drops of Booty Juice and a pinch of owl and three hairs of unicorns. New Day got worried. Kofi asked how she got the plans. Big E said, “She’s Russian.” Xavier said it must be hacking. The crowd laughed. They entered the ring to try to get the iPad from Lana. Rusev and Mahal blocked them. [c]
(3) RUSEV (w/Lana) & JINDER MAHAL vs. THE NEW DAY (Kofi Kingston & Big E w/Xavier Woods)
Graves said they learned New Day’s ice cream was a plot to poison the youth of America. He asked Saxton if he was okay with Booty Juice. Saxton said it’s the quality of the ingredients that count. When Saxton said WrestleMania “might just be the greatest night ever” because New Day are hosting, Cole quickly said, “WrestleMania is always the greatest night ever; New Day just add to it.” A few minutes in, Kofi dove over the top rope onto Rusev. Lana encouraged Rusev to stand. Xavier blew his trombone in her ear. She was so scared she threw the iPad in the air. Xavier caught it and then bashed a perfectly good iPad across the ringside steps to break it. He bent it and tore it apart. Meanwhile, New Day finished Mahal with The Midnight Hour.
WINNERS: New Day in 5:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: New Day segment are so “sports entertain-y” it’s hard to bring yourself back into some semblance of the other part of the universe WWE tries to present, where you care about wins and losses and championships and beatdowns.)
-Cole smiled and threw to a video package on George “The Animal” Steele. They had various people comment on him including Bruno Sammartino, Sheamus, David Arquette, Stephanie McMahon, and Kevin Hart. Lots of footage of turnbuckles being torn up.
(Keller’s Analysis: We went from turnbuckles being ripped up 25 years ago to iPads being torn up in 2017. It was a nice video, but you’d have never known from that video package that he was ever a feared villain. He was portrayed as a fun-loving comedy figure.) [c]
-Aries stood in the ring to host the official contract signing for Fastlane featuring Jack Gallagher already in the ring, but no sign of Neville. Aries introduced a “dapper looking” Gallagher. He congratulated Gallagher for managing to succeed on talent and skill despite not being willing to swear or cheat like he is willing to do. “Thank you, Mr. Aries, for your style of pleasantries,” he said. Gallagher said they aren’t just there for pleasantries, they’re there to sign a contract. He said he not only has a chance to become Cruiserweight Champion, but he can dethrone the delusional King of the Cruiserweights. He signed the contract. Aries introduced Neville.
Neville made his full ring entrance. He made fun of Gallagher’s way of speaking. He said he is a caricature, a cartoon, a stereotype. “You don’t really exist,” he said. He said the real streets of England are ugly and rough around the edges. He said he twirls his umbrella and does whatever the people want, but those people aren’t laughing with him, they’re laughing at him. He said when they see what he does to him at Fastlane, the only person laughing that evening will be him.
Gallagher said he has to correct him. “I am not playing a gentleman, I am a gentleman,” he said. “The suit, the tie, the umbrella, the mustache doesn’t come off at night, I assure you. This is just the way I am. This is the way I was raised.” He said he isn’t the problem, the problem is that Neville thinks he’s better than everyone else, “and that I will not stand for.” Neville tipped over the desk and got in Gallagher’s face. He asked what he’s going to do, challenge him to a duel. He face palmed him. Gallagher fought back and head-butted Neville out of the ring. Neville grabbed his umbrella and stumbled into the chair in the ring, groggy from the headbutt himself. When Neville teased a return to the ring, Gallagher met him with the point of the umbrella.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good basic straight forward promo that left it to the wrestlers to get across why you might root for one and not the other, with the personalities having a chance to be the stars, not clever pop culture references or jokes. Gallagher is able to get serious in a way that fits his character and elevates it above just a corny one-note comedy act.)
-A commercial aired for NXT pushing the women’s Triple Threat match to determine the new no. 1 contender for Asuka. [c]
(4) NIA JAX vs. SARAH PEARCE
Graves said Jax represents “the doom and gloom” of the Women’s Division. Jax overpowered and squashed the much smaller Pearce.
WINNER: Jax with a Samoan Drop in under 1:00.
-An unnamed woman interviewed Jax in the ring. She asked for her thoughts on the controversy with Bayley winning the title last week. Nia said the only controvesy is that she hasn’t had her chance at the title yet. She called the fans “sheep.” She said she’d have loved to see “those little girls” Sasha and Bayley try that with her. She said she’d shove the crutch right down their throats. She put them on notice. Cole said Jax with the Women’s Championship is a scary thought.
-Saxton introduced the latest Black History Month segment on President Obama with Kingston, Cedric Alexander, and Rich Swann. Kofi said he was defined by his “sharp wit and endless compassion” and “guided by reason and trust.” Sasha said his success reminds everyone of what others worked so hard to achieve. Mark Henry said he led the country though an uncertain time and his inspirational message of hope and change was embraced in America and celebrated around the world. They cut to fans who were cheering in the crowd.
-They showed Bayley hugging a couple guys in suits backstage. [c]
-Bayley made her ring entrance. She wore her championship belt. A clip aired of her controversial win last week. Cole said she didn’t know Sasha interfered, but Charlotte was incensed. The crowd chanted “You deserve it!” at her. Bayley said, “Don’t make me cry yet. Thanks, guys!” she said. She talked about growing up in California. She said after she won the title, she went to her phone and talked to her dad who was so proud. The crowd cheered her. She said her dad was there tonight and thanked the fans for making her look cool in front of her dad. She said everyone keeps asking her how it feels to be WWE Women’s Champion, it felt great. She said Charlotte is trying to “tarnish the best week of my life and make up some excuse for her loss.” Stephanie McMahon interrupted.
(Keller’s Analysis: The babyface shouldn’t seem either oblivious to receiving help to win or trying to deceive people into believing she had no help in winning. I was really expecting her to be upset with Sasha for tarnishing her title win.)
Stephanie entered the ring and asked Bayley when she talks about her dream and vision as a little girl, did she imagine she would be competing one-on-one for the Women’s Championship in front of a sold out crowd as the main event of Monday Night Raw? Did she envision people chanting “You deserve it!”? “Or did you envision almost losing and almost tapping out only to have someone else come out and cheap shot your opponent for what can only be called a tainted victory?” Stephanie astutely pointed out. Bayley seemed on the verge of tears. Steph asked if her dad was hesitant to congratulate her because Sasha deserved credit, not her. Steph said her fans admire her because she is good and honest and a hugger, and that’s good enough for everyone. She asked if she’s willing to throw away who she is to hold a title she didn’t really earn. She said the Bayley she knows would relinquish the championship. She told her to do the right thing. Bayley took off the belt. The crowd chanted no. Stephanie told her it is difficult to do the right thing, but she should hold the belt for the right reasons. Bayley struggled and got emotional. Sasha Banks’s music played.
Sasha came out with a mic in hand. Steph asked if Sasha thinks Bayley can’t handle her own business and can’t win with her. She asked if she thinks she’s a charity case. Sasha told Bayley, “Do not listen to this garbage.” The crowd cheered. Sasha said she won the belt fair and square. She told her to listen to the fans because they all love her. Steph asked Sasha if she wants Bayley to keep the title because she knows she can’t beat Charlotte, but she can beat Bayley. Bayley said she doesn’t want to become champion and have people think it was handed to her. She said the title should represent happiness and competition, not controversy. She asked if she should give up the championship. The crowd chanted no. She said there is only one answer. She hung her head and then looked up and said, “Hell no! I’m not giving up this Women’s Championship!” She said she pinned Charlotte for the third time and became the champion. Stephanie was upset. Bayley said it wasn’t because of Sasha, it was because of all of the fans.
Charlotte stepped out, mic in hand. She told “Mrs. McMahon” that she wanted to apologize on behalf of the Women’s Division “for these two ingrates being so disrespectful.” Stephanie thanked her. Charlotte said she doesn’t want her to give up the title, she wants her to take it back. She said at Fastlane she’s taking her title back by invoking her rematch clause. Sasha told Charlotte to shut up. Sasha said Bayley will prove Charlotte is no queen. Sasha said her knee is feeling fine, so how about for old time’s sake they wrestle tonight. Charlotte said she’s the reason Bayley has the title, and she’s not going to pass up the chance to put her in a wheelchair forever. Steph said it’s official and “it’s going to start right now.” [c]
(5) CHARLOTTE vs. SASHA BANKS
Bayley joined the announcers on commentary. They cut to an early break after Charlotte knocked Sasha to the floor. [c]
Charlotte had Sasha in a Dragon sleeper after the break. When Sasha rallied, she dove onto Charlotte on the floor at ringside. When Dana Brooke ran out, Bayley knocked her down before she could get to the ring. Sasha climbed to the top rope, but Charlotte knocked her off during the chaos. Sasha caught Charlotte from behind with the Back Stabber into a Bank Statement for the tapout win. Bayley and Sasha celebrated together in the ring.
WINNER: Sasha Banks in 12:00.
-Cole threw to a video package on Diamond Dallas Page being added to the 2017 Hall of Fame Class. Eric Bischoff complimented Page for his ability to work with people such as Karl Malone and Dennis Rodman. “From a business perspective, he put us on the map,” he said. Cole said Rolling Stone magazine broke the story earlier that day.
-Backstage a woman without a name interviewed Sami Zayn regarding facing his former best friend, Owens, next. He said he has known Owens for a very long time, and he thinks it helps him understand Samoa Joe, too. “They’re two terribly selfish people,” he said. He said he sees Joe doing what Owens has done to him for years. He said it’s in the name of Triple H because they say he’s the only one who ever believed in him. He said eventually time catches up to everyone, and he has to deal with him kicking his teeth in tonight.
-Owens came out first. Clips aired of Owens turning on Jericho last week. As Sami came out, Joe attacked him from behind. He beat him up at ringside as two referees yelled at him and Owens looked on from the ring with a serious look on his face. Joe yelled, “Say my name again.” Joe gave Sami a running senton splash on the floor. Cole sold its impact in a big way. Joe yelled in Sami’s face: “This is your world now! This is your world!”
(6) SAMI ZAYN vs. KEVIN OWENS
Sami told the ref he wanted to wrestle. “We’re doing it!” he said as he gasped for breath. Owens charged at him with two hard clotheslines in the corner. Owens did a cannonball in the corner. He mounted him and pounded away at him. Owens landed a Pop-Up Powerbomb and scored a pin.
WINNER: Owens in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Man, I like this version of Owens. He’s good at it. There are people who have only seen his WWE work and not much else, and see him a chubby t-shirt wearing average-height wise-cracking heavyweight with cruiserweight moves. He’s so much more, and that “more” is where the real money is with him. His facial expressions just when he pinned Sami is showing this other side of what he can be. It’s good to see. He’s a full-time guy with years of tread left and he should absolutely be built up and protected going into WrestleMania and at WrestleMania. I suspect he won’t be just squashed by Goldberg the way he’s being portrayed, and if he does, I’ll be disappointed.)
-The announcers hyped the main event with a Tale of the Tape. [c]
-A graphic appeared on the screen acknowledging the death of Ivan Koloff, a former WWWF Champion.
-They went backstage to Stephanie asking Foley where he was because she was being disrespected by Sasha and Bayley in the ring. Foley said he was thinking of going out there. Steph asked where he was then. He said, “Well, I was just thinking of going out there to offer my support to Bayley as WWE Women’s Champion.” He said she put herself in that situation to be embarrassed. He said he enjoyed every moment of it. She told him not to test her “like one of my children.” She said his attitude is nothing short of insubordination. She said his time off next week offered him no perspective on his situation. He said he’s not asking anyone, he’s telling her: “Don’t treat me as if I am stupid.” He said because he trusted her, Seth Rollins is on the shelf for another WrestleMania at the hands of Samoa Joe at the behest of her husband. He said he touted Samoa Joe for a long to her and her husband. He said this isn’t the version of Joe he supported, though, because his actions go against every fiber of his being. He said it may be career suicide by taking such a strong stance, but he refuses to be belittled by her or her husband. He yelled that he refuses to let her greed get in the way of what he knows is right. She warned him of a cord on the floor and said in a sinister tone, “I wouldn’t want you to have an accident.”
-They went to Graves and Saxton at the announce table. They threw to Cole with a very special interview with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Cole said it’s official that at WrestleMania, he takes on Goldberg one-on-one. He talked of how Goldberg beat Lesnar at Survivor Series and eliminated him from the Royal Rumble. Cole noted that first Goldberg faces Owens. Heyman interrupted and said his client is “a little on edge lately, dare I say anxious.” He said it would “behoove him” to lower his voice and adjust his tone.
Heyman said there are those who say the Goldberg vs. Owens match at Fastlane is of such historical significance now that it affects Lesnar’s prominence on WrestleMania. He said his client disagrees. Brock stood up. Cole fled the set. Lesnar sat down on a chair he moved right in front of the stationary camera and looked directly into the lens as Heyman continued talking. Heyman, in the background, explained that some now say that Owens should be recognized as the most violent title holder in recent memory in WWE. He said his client disagrees. He said some say that if Goldberg takes Owens lightly the way they took Goldberg lightly, Goldberg is in for a long night at Fastlane and Owens is prepared to shock the world against Goldberg. “My client, Brock Lesnar, disagrees.” He said he thinks Owens established himself last week and is hitting his stride and is prepared to shock the world at Fastlane and thinks Owens has a chance to enter WrestleMania as Universal Champion. He said his client disagrees, because if Goldberg hits a spear and a jackhammer against Owens at Fastlane, then Goldberg goes to WrestleMania as the WWE Universal Champion. He said that’s just one more thing, along with Goldberg’s heath, well-being, reputation, legacy, and career that the Beast will conquer. “And on that, my client, Brock Lesnar agrees.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Heyman was on top of his game here. He managed to put over Owens and hype Fastlane all while keeping Lesnar strong and building intrigue for Lesnar-Goldberg. I will probably have nightmares over the close-up of Lesnar in high-def during Heyman’s final comments. Saxton said Lesnar was the definition of intimidation there. I think he redefined it. That was a novel production effect. It almost looked like they shot Lesnar with a 3D camera.)
-Braun made his ring entrance as workers reinforced the ring. [c]
-Saxton hyped Goldberg would be on Raw next week for the final episode before Fastlane. Cole then hyped a sit-down interview with Seth Rollins next week. He said it’s his first appearance since being injured by “Triple H’s destroyer, Samoa Joe” and said they’d address Seth missing WrestleMania for the second year in a row and discussing his future.
(7) BRAUN STROWMAN vs. BIG SHOW
Saxton said Show is one of the few men walking the planet that Strowman actually has to look up to. Cole said Strowman wanted attention and he’s got it. A fan held up a sign in the background that said, “Where’s Hogan?” They had a staredown. Saxton said Show is ready to humble Braun. They locked-up mid-ring two minutes past the top of the hour. They had a stalemate. Some fans chanted “This is awesome.” Strowman rolled through an armbar and kipped up. The announcers marveled. Strowman pushed Show into the corner. Show stared a hole in him. Strowman said, “I’m the giant now.” Show shoved him down, tripping him with his leg as he pushed. Strowman took Show over with a side headlock takedown. When Show shoved Strowman into the ropes, Strowman clotheslined him in the chest to take him down. He yelled and raised his arms. He shouted, “Get up!” Show got up, so Strowman took him down with a big boot. Cole called it a dominating performance for Strowman. Saxton said Show had held titles everywhere he’s been citing WCW, ECW, and WWE.
Show grabbed Strowman by the throat, but Strowman countered with a DDT for the first two count of the match at 3:30. Strowman charged Show in the corner. Show leaned on the ropes. Strowman bashed him with a forearm and took him down. Cole said they’ve been impressed with Strowman for months, but this is the most dangerous he has looked. Strowman took Show down again with a clothesline and scored another two count. Graves said Strowman wasn’t even breathing all that hard yet. Strowman went for a suplex, but Show blocked it. They took turns trying to suplex each other. Show eventually succeeded by suplexing Strowman at 6:00.
Show lifted his boot at Strowman charged in the corner. After a punch to the gut and a splash in the corner, he shoulder tackled Strowman. Then he hit a chokeslam and scored a two count. Both were slow to rise. Strowman lifted Show for a powerslam, but Show slipped free. He then lifted Strowman onto the top rope and chopped his chest. They were ten minutes into the overrun at this point. He set up a superplex. Strowman blocked it. As Strowman leaped off the top rope, Show gave him a KO punch for a near fall. Graves said he’s knocked out everyone with that right hand. Saxton said he was in absolute disbelief. Show went for a swing splash in the corner, but Strowman stood up to avoid it. He then lifted Show and barely carried him to center-ring for a running power slam. That was good for a two count. Cole said nobody yet has kicked out of that power slam by Strowman. “What an incredible main event here on Monday Night Raw!” Cole exclaimed. The crowd chanted “This is awesome!” Braun lifted Show again and delivered another, better, power slam for the win.
WINNER: Strowman in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was well done. I mean, really well done. The missing piece was building Show’s credibility in recent weeks or months, as Show’s rep is pretty damaged. That said, Strowman got the vast majority of the offense. I doubt anyone predicted this would last 12 minutes. The announcing really added to the effectiveness of the match.)
-As soon as the match ended, Reigns’s music played. He marched out to a mixed reaction. Cole said he can’t wait two weeks to get his hands on Strowman. Reigns punched away at an exhausted Strowman and then hit a Superman Punch. And another. Strowman went down. He played to the crowd and got booed. Strowman caught Reigns with a dropkick as he went for a spear. Strowman looked at him like a crazed maniac. Strowman gave Reigns a running power slam. Cole asked if that will be the fate of Reigns at Fastlane. Cole said, “You are looking at the most dominant man of recent memory!”
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not sure it did much for Reigns’s rep that he attacked Strowman only after Strowman was in the fight of his life for 12 minutes.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Not every segment was great, but this was an above average edition of Raw that held my interest well and peaked with some compelling promos and a satisfying main event.