Welcome to another exciting edition of Monday Night Raw as we fly ever-closer to WrestleMania!
Rumours are running rampant that Finn Balor, the Demon King, is set to make his return to Raw tonight. Balor returned to action this past weekend at a live event but whether he returns on tonight’s show, or potentially after WrestleMania remains to be seen. On last weeks Raw however, The Undertaker returned and chokeslammed the hell out of Roman Reigns. The Deadman was exacting revenge for being eliminated from the Royal Rumble, as well as Reigns suddenly calling the ring his yard. That’s 100% encroaching on Undertaker’s territory and gimmick. Well, WWE.com is teasing that Reigns will be looking for retaliation of his own tonight!
Also on last week’s show, Samoa Joe helped Kevin Owens pound on Chris Jericho, which suggests Joe and Owens are working together at the behest of Triple H. What does this mean for Joe’s WrestleMania plans? Kevin Owens is facing Jericho for the US Championship, meanwhile Joe has been consistently beating-up Sami Zayn for kicks. It’s unclear who Joe will face at WrestleMania, other than, yes, a returning Finn Balor!
Brock Lesnar came to Raw last week and laid-out Goldberg for the first time. It was quite a nice change of pace and I loved how Goldberg immediately grabbed the title as he lay on the canvas, clutching it like a wounded warrior should. The story between these two is already set and doesn’t really need further padding, so I would be surprised to see either of them more than one or two times between here and ‘Mania.
To my knowledge, the only announced match for tonight’s show is the tag team number one contender’s match with Enzo & Big Cass facing Sheamus and Cesaro. However we’ll also get to see Sasha Banks, Bayley, Charlotte and Nia Jax, as well as potential appearances from Triple H and Seth Rollins. With only three weeks left until WrestleMania, Raw should be firing on all cylinders. So sit-back, strap-in, and enjoy the show!
Raw begins and Brock Lesnar’s music hits – the crowd gives him a massive pop as he makes his way to the stage. Paul Heyman emerges alongside him and they make their way to the ring.
Heyman chuckles into the microphone and asks if it’s an advocate’s fantasy that his client F-5’d the seemingly indestructible Goldberg. Not only can he see the future, the vision has been bestowed on everyone courtesy of Brock Lesnar. Heyman asks what the vision and future is. The future takes place on Sunday, April 2, 2017 at WrestleMania. It’s the night his client, Brock Lesnar, causes those so-called announcers to scream at the top of their lungs, “DOWN GOES GOLDBERG!” Heyman says he will confess for the past few months — he’s interrupted by “Goldberg” chants. Some in the crowd boo, but the chant is louder.
Heyman says Goldberg is not here this evening. His client, Brock Lesnar, is so they must listen to his advocate. That’s a nice way of saying to the ones chanting “Goldberg” to “shut the hell up.” They’ve been wondering for the past few months what they should do about Goldberg. Every time his client has faced Goldberg, it’s been Spear, Jackhammer, Goldberg — but not last week.
Last week was a different story: F-5, DOWN GOES GOLDBERG. Not only did Goldberg go down at the hands of Brock Lesnar, he went down to the most effective finishing move in WWE history. This will be the end greatest championship comeback in sports entertainment history. The champion will be hoisted up and given an F-5. The resurrection of Goldberg and his comeback will be put down. That is where Heyman’s vision of the future will be validated. This is Heyman’s theory of relativity: F-5 = Lesnar goes up, DOWN GOES GOLDBERG! Lesnar’s music hits, and they quickly go to the back.
Stephanie and Mick are shown talking backstage. She’s said some things he shouldn’t take personally. Foley says it felt personal. She wants to talk about business. She loves how he connects with the WWE Universe and the superstars, but his areas of opportunity are significant in business. She needs to nurture and develop him to grow. Tough love didn’t work with him, so she wants to teach Foley how to do his job better. She tells him he needs to fire someone by the end of the night. She says they have to cut the bottom 10% and trim the fat. It’ll send the message of strong leadership. The product will be better at the end. Foley has to think like a businessperson. Foley asks how long he has to make this decision. She gives him until the end of the night. She asks if she can count on him, and he says she can. She pats him on the back and walks off. Foley has tears in his eyes. Who will Foley fire? Sami Zayn? Jinder Mahal? And will that person head straight to SmackDown Live?
Dana Brooke is out for some action and Charlotte is by her side.
Brooke takes the fight to Banks in the corner to start the match. Dana then beats her up a little more on the apron and goes for the cover on Charlotte’s advice.
Brooke lifts Banks onto her shoulders. However, Banks slips out of her clutches and rolls her up to score the quick win.
After the match, Charlotte grabs a mic and tells Brooke she is a disgrace and doesn’t deserve to be by her side at WrestleMania. She tells Brooke that she won’t be riding her coat-tails to WrestleMania. Brooke looks sad at first, but it quickly turns to anger and she lays The Queen out with a right hand. Dana proceeds to beat Charlotte, insider the ring and outside, until her former mentor escapes up the ramp. The crowd chants Dana’s name as she taunts Charlotte to come back in the ring.
Later tonight, Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn will take on Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens. Also tonight, Roman Reigns answers the question: Whose Yard Is It?
The announcers lead us to a video on the 2017 Warrior Award recipient – former Rutgers football stand out Eric LeGrand. He will be honored at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony.
Kendrick and Tozawa look like they will kick things off, but Nese attacks Tozawa from behind to take control.
Nese tags Kendrick in and he shoves Tozawa in the face. Tozawa fakes a chop, then waits for Kendrick to look-up and punches him. He sends Kendrick off the apron with an elbow before taking him out with a suicide dive. Perkins hits a nice hurricanrana off the apron to Nese as we head to a break.
We return from the break and we’re shown Neville backstage as he watches the encounter. Tozawa is double teamed yet again and Nese takes advantage. Perkins tries to help his partner but is stopped by Kendrick. Nese then locks Tozawa in a leglock in the centre of the ring.
Akira fights out and then tries to make the tag but is stopped. He finally does and brings Perkins in the game, who starts strong. Perkins has the advantage and goes for the cover on Neese but this is broken up by Kendrick.
Perkins then plants Nese with a DDT and goes for the cover again but Kendrick stops the pin fall yet again. Tozawa hits Kendrick with a running kick as he stands on the apron and as he is distracted, Perkins is pushed on him by Nese. Nese then uses the distraction to roll-up Perkins for the win.
The Club have a quick interview with Charly Caruso, in which they say they aren’t getting enough attention or spotlight, so they plan on taking it. Kevin Owens is shown walking to the ring.
Kevin Owens comes to the ring. Owens stands in the centre of the ring with the spotlight on him as the crowd chants for Y2J. He starts by saying that he took the spotlight and put it right where it belongs, on him, one month ago. We are then shown a vignette of the events that took place in the festival of friendship.
Owens reiterates that he was never Jericho’s friend, but he says Y2J never liked him either. He says he simply stabbed Jericho in the back before it happened to him. All Jericho wanted was his title. Owens calls Jericho foolish for wanting payback at ‘Mania and says that he is going to take his US Title just like his belt was taken from him. He then tells both Zayn and Y2J that you don’t need best friends when you have a destroyer and out comes his partner.
The crowd erupts into ‘Y2J’ chants as Jericho faces off with Owens to begins with. However, Owens tags Joe in. Joe immediately takes control with a Samoan Leg drop and works Jericho in the corner. Jericho finally lands a missile drop kick and goes for the cover but Koe kicks out.
Jericho tags Sami in and he eventually sends Joe flying with a head scissors. However, he then gets hit with a running kick in the corner. Owens is then tagged in and he begins to stomp Zayn’s face. Jericho screams at him but is finally hit off the apron by Owens.
Zayn climbs the ropes and dives onto his opponents outside the ring. Sami then brings Joe to the ring but Owens hit him on his injured knee. Owens and Joe double team Zayn till they are disqualified.
After the match, Joe gets Zayn in the Coquina clutch and Owens beats down on him till Jericho comes to the rescue. Jericho proceeds to lock in the walls of Jericho after the 2 former best friends go at each other but Owens is saved by Joe. Y2J is then double-teamed and left in the ring wincing in pain.
Foley is backstage with Steph as Jax walks in demanding her shot. Steph tells her that she has a match with the champ as she deserves a spot in the title scene.
We see Foley walking backstage looking deflated as he is confronted by Jinder Mahal, who demands an opportunity to prove himself. Foley then tells him he will face Reigns…bye Jinder!
The New Day interview Big Show backstage. They ask him about being in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal – so I guess the match with Shaq is definitely not happening. They start discussing the WWE/Jetsons movie, and Big Show’s role in it. They are interrupted by Titus O’ Neil blowing a whistle. Titus then asks Show why his brand isn’t focused on in the cartoon and proceeds to push him before walking away, it seems like we have an impromptu match.
Big Cass & Enzo come to the ring for their huge number one contender’s match. They bring a literal cup with ‘a cuppa haters’ written on it. Cass gives a great promo and says they are the Cinderella story and will walk straight into WrestleMania as contenders, then walk out as Champions.
Cesaro goes after Big Cass to begin with but is then hit by a side walk slam. Cesaro works his way to his corner and Sheamus joins him as they two slam Cass with double clotheslines. Sheamus works on Cass till the big man finally recovers and sends him to the mat with a slam.
Enzo tags in and all four men get in each others faces as we head to a break.
Cesaro plants Enzo to the mat with a giant clothesline and goes for the cover. Sheamus is then tagged in and the two double team Enzo as Cass hits him with a double boot. The Irishman finally goes for the cover which is broken up by Cass.
Gallows and Anderson go on to clear house emphatically and end by hitting Sheamus with the magic killer. All four participants are left on the floor while Gallows and Anderson stand tall.
After the break we’re getting The Big Dog in action!
After the break, Foley is shown booking Anderson and Gallows in a Triple Threat title match at WrestleMania against Enzo, Cass, Cesaro and Sheamus.
They lock up and Reigns is able to force Mahal to the corner. Jinder fires off a few right hands and elbows to the head before Roman drops him with a side suplex. As Reigns delivers a beating, The Undertaker’s gong sounds in the arena.
He is nowhere to be seen and Mahal uses the distraction to hit a running knee to the face. He slams Reigns and gets a close two count. Reigns nails the Superman punch to get the win.
After the match, Roman calls out The Undertaker and we head to a break
We return and Reigns is still waiting for the Deadman. He calls him out again and…
The two stare down as chants of HBK fill the arena.Reigns says that he didn’t call out HBK. Michaels says he wants to cut to chase and tells Reigns that he is distracted and unfocused. He then informs Reigns that if the Undertaker has already camped in the Big Dog’s head by the time ‘Mania comes around he will be eaten up. The Detroit crowd loved that.
Reigns says that everyone should ask the Deadman how it feels to take him on. Michaels the tells Reigns that he is the Big dog and is immediately booed. He then tells him that he is on Reigns’ side. Reigns tells Michaels that the Phenom retired him and he would retire ‘Taker in the same way. I smell a retirement match looming and I want to cry.
As Reigns walks up the ramp, he is ambushed by Braun Strowman and is sent flying. Strowman climbs into the ring and tells HBK that if he wanted he could do the same thing to him too.
We return from commercial to see Foley and Stephanie backstage. Foley says it’s a really hard decision for him. Steph tells him that its good for the company as it keeps the other stars on their toes. She then tells him he has an hour to decide and warns him that if he can’t decide then she would make the choice for him.
Before the break, Corey Graves hypes the in-ring Raw debut of Austin Aries.
Aries begins by jumping around and then gets kicked to the gut. He then goes for two arm drags and is caught in a leg lock. Aries then stands on his head to get out of it and finishes it with a kick.
Daivari looks like he’s on the backfoot until he throws AA out of the ring. Daivari looks in control and smashes Double A with a vicious clothesline. He then gouges Aries’ eye but AA regains advantage soon. He then plants a spinning elbow right into his opponents’ chest. Daivari finds himself outside the ring and AA dives after him.
AA then attempts a suplex but Daivari lands awkwardly. AA then hits the roaring elbow to finish the bout.
The Big Show makes his way to the ring for a match.
Big Show begins by shoving Titus to the corner and then chops him to the chest. Titus gets momentum for a minute with kicks in the corner until Big Show changes that with a clothesline. Titus manages to get the giant down but then finally walks into a choke slam.
He plants Titus to the mat with another chokeslam. The crowd screams for another. Show obliges and pins Titus for the win.
We see Jericho backstage with Mike Rome. Y2J puts Mike on the List of Jericho but he puts him down as Tom Phillips. He says that he will get the Revenge of Jericho at ‘Mania. He adds that he wants to show people the true Kevin Owens and then says that the ‘real’ KO will be on the Highlight Reel next week.
The bell rings and Jax shows off her power by picking Bayley up and putting her in the corner. The Hugger goes for a lock-up, but she gets shoved out of the ring. Jax throws the steel steps out of anger after Bayley kicks her in the head.
We return from the commercial to see Jax hyperextending Bayley’s back on her knee. Jax continues to dominate until the Champ gets Nia’s knee tangled in the ropes. She then climbs to the third rope and jumps right into Jax’s arms.
Bayley wriggles her way out only to be slammed into the corner. Nia plants Bayley to the mat with a huge slam and continues to work her in the corner. Jax refuses to stop hitting Bayley viciously in the corner until the ref stops the fight and disqualifies Jax.
After the match, Nia continues to destroy Bayley. She throws her out of the ring and then slams the Champ against the barricade before leaving. She’s not happy about missing out on that WrestleMania title match.
Cole informs us that Strowman’s ambush on Reigns has resulted in a Strowman vs Reigns match that will take place next week.
Stephanie McMahon comes to the ring and calls out Mick to fire someone. Steph applauds Foley’s entrance and then asks him who he will fire. Foley then says that no one deserves to be terminated but then goes on to add that ten minutes ago a name popped out at him. He thanked Steph for helping him reach the decision and says that this will make for a better Raw.
Foley says that after careful deliberation, the name he has come up with, is: Stephanie McMahon. Steph then says that she is done with the jokes and demands a name. Foley repeats himself and says that she treats the stars badly. He says that he treasured their friendship and adds that he is looking into the eyes of a liar and a really bad person. Foley says that Triple H is not a creator in the WWE. Steph says she will make things bad for him and Foley says he will not be silenced by her or her husband.
Triple H’s music hits and out comes the King of Kings. The Game tells Foley to say what he wanted to his face. Mick then tells him he thought that HHH was hiding. The Game says that he is always around and doesn’t understand how people can’t find him. HHH then says he’ll take Foley’s leg and beat him on the head with it. Foley then retorts says that he’d probably get Joe to do it.
HHH calls Foley a nostalgia act and then says Stephanie likes Foley. Amidst CM Punk chants, he tells Foley not to mistake her fondness for weakness. Mick says he has the respect of the Superstars of Raw and says they envy him because he doesn’t need to act like he likes the Game.
Triple H then brings up Foley’s children, who work in the WWE, and adds that Mick could give them a drop to the unemployment office. He then turns to ‘his good ear’ and asks him if that pulled at his heart strings. Triple H then goes on to say that he should hide his tail behind his legs and enjoy working everytime he returns to Raw.
H then tells him that he will jump when he says so. He finally demands that he leaves the ring. Foley is about to leave the ring as the power couple turn their back to the crowd and address it. The Game notices that Foley hasn’t left yet and walks up to him only to be greeted by the Mandible Claw. Foley has H on the ropes but Steph hits him with a low-blow from behind.
The fans go nuts chanting for Foley. Triple H slowly gets to his feet and removes his jacket, rolls his sleeves and then marches towards Foley, only for Seth Rollins’ music to hit! The Architect limps down to the ring with a crutch under his arm. Rollins then lifts the crutch high into the air and drops it.
Rollins jumps into the ring and the two go at each other. Rollins stands tall and finally gets H out of the ring with a drop kick. The Game picks up Rollins’ crutch and enters the ring. Rollins deals with him at first but the Game eventually hits the Architect’s bad leg and gets him in an inverted figure four leg lock after working on his leg a bit more.
Refs finally separate the two and Triple H slams Rollins’ knee one last time before smiling and leaving the ring to end the show.
What did you think? What happens with Foley now? Will Rollins make it to WrestleMania? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, download the Ringside news app, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow night for SmackDown live and 205 Live! Until then, safe travels!