Only 13 days separate us from WrestleMania in Orlando, and Monday Night Raw was live from Brooklyn, home of SummerSlam. Roman Reigns took on Braun Strowman, and Chris Jericho had the “real” Kevin Owens on the Highlight Reel. Yup, there are only 13 days until Orlando, but as for tonight, there was no sleep in Brooklyn. Here’s Mr. Monday Night Raw, Ryan Smith‘s Raw review.
Monday Night Raw Review: No Sleep in Brooklyn
Mick Foley, Stephanie McMahon, Sami Zayn, & Samoa Joe
The show opened with Mick Foley, who read an apology off a piece of paper where he thanked Triple H and Stephanie McMahon for letting him be the general manager. And then he announced that he would be taking a leave of absence.
He tore up the pieces of paper and announced that he’d say what he wanted to say before his microphone started failing. Whether it was part of the storyline or a technical difficulty, Foley sold it really well, screaming frustratedly. You know what sucks? Foley has been fantastic the last few weeks, and now he’s going to leave.
Anyway, in the midst of his frustration, Stephanie “I hate quality television” McMahon came down to the ring and began, you guessed it, chewing him out, before firing him. Foley was an iffy general manager, but I really think I’m going to miss him. One of my favorite people in wrestling.
McMahon was demanding that Foley leave the ring when Sami Zayn‘s music hit. He came out and told Stephanie that what she was doing was wrong. And then he expanded, saying that most of the things she had done had been a mistake. Foley tried to talk to Zayn, and his microphone was messed up.
Foley begged Zayn to leave, but instead he got in Stephanie’s face and continued to tell her off. This didn’t end well for Zayn, however, as Samoa Joe came out. McMahon announced that the two would have a match and that the match would start right now. Solid segment.
Segment/Match Quality- 7/10 Woo’s
Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn
Joe dominated early and often, throwing Zayn around the ring. Zayn is so talented, it’s a real shame that his push has been what it has been. If only his father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate was The Rock, maybe he’d get a real push.
Speaking of talent, Joe dove between the top and middle ropes onto Zayn. Friendly reminder, Joe is over 280 pounds, and he’s doing stuff the cruiserweights won’t do tonight. Just unreal. But you know what’s annoying?
The fans started CM Punk. Despite the fact that two incredible wrestlers were in the ring, the Brooklyn crowd started chanting the name of a wrestler that doesn’t even kinda care about them. A great crowd can make or break a match.
In PROGRESS, the crowds are always rowdy, and they start wild chants, but they’re relevant. Those chants are based on what is happening in the ring, and a lot of the time, it’s funny. Just chanting random stuff because you’re a mark with no sense of humor puts you in the same crowd as Josh Matthews.
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After almost being counted out, Zayn got back into the ring and started really bringing it to Joe. The fight spilled out of the ring, and Zayn pulled off that beautiful DDT dive through the ropes. Zayn crawled back into the ring, and was he was about to hit the Helluva Kick when Joe reversed it and choked him out with the Coquina Clutch.
Segment/Match Quality- 8/10 Woo’s
Charlotte vs. Dana Brooke
Less than a week after the world’s most awkward face turn, Charlotte and Dana Brooke faced off in the ring. Right after the bell, Brooke went after Charlotte. Despite her babyface turn, Brooke is still a mediocre wrestler at best, and it showed.
It isn’t that she doesn’t have potential, or that she needs to know a bunch of moves, it’s just that she’s very clumsy in the ring. Her moves aren’t very smooth and they don’t happen quickly. Her matches lack pacing and the selling is awkward.
Charlotte tried her best to get a good match out of Brooke, but not only was it not, but the Brookyn crowd could not have cared less. I can’t say I blame them. How crazy is it that Asuka is still in developmental and Brooke isn’t?
Segment/Match Quality- 2/10 Woo’s
The Highlight Reel w/the “Real” Kevin Owens
Chris Jericho is the United States Champion. I completely forgot about that. And in 13 days, that honor will become Kevin Owens’. Whoa, I just realized that Owens will have won the Universal, Intercontinental, and United States Championships in just under two years. Kudos, Kevin.
Despite it being the Highlight Reel, there was no JeriTron 5000 in the middle of the ring or even stools. Jericho said he wanted to introduce the fans to the real Kevin Owens, and he pointed to the titantron. On the big screen was a picture of teenage Kevin Owens… wearing a Y2J shirt… doing the Y2J pose… next to his Chris Jericho poster. Phew.
Then he shared a very real screenshot of a Twitter conversation that went down in the DMs, where he asked Jericho for advice immediately after he signed with the company a few years back.
The final bit of footage that Jericho showed was Owens’ shocked face when Jericho interfered with his championship match against Goldberg. Jericho reiterated that they really weren’t friends, but that Owens worshipped Jericho. Funny how they’ve completely transformed this feud into the one that Y2J had with Shawn Michaels way back when.
Jericho cut a serious promo, which he hasn’t done in months, and it was fan-freaking-tastic. He told Owens that when they stood in the ring at WrestleMania, he’d be the 16 year old mark he used to be.
How did he cap off the serious promo? How did he really drive the point home? He finally put Kevin Owens on the List of Jericho. Or… at least he was about to.
Samoa Joe showed up on the stage, just long enough for Owens to blindside him. The two men exchanged blows, but then eventually Owens hit the pop-up powerbomb and picked up the list. The former Universal Champion removed the pages from the list, and ripped them in half. He mockingly did the Y2J pose, and then made his way to the back.
It was just amazing stuff, and I’m gonna miss the holy hell out of Jericho when he leaves.
Segment/Match Quality- 10/10 Woo’s
T.J. Perkins vs. The Brian Kendrick
Cruiserweight action on Monday Night Raw as the first rivalry of 205 Live! renewed their feud for the 800th time! Fortunately it was a short match, with the Brian Kendrick winning with Sliced Bread, but he wasn’t done as he grabbed a microphone to call out Akira Tozawa.
Kendrick revealed that he stole Tozawa’s passport, getting him deported. The President would be proud.
Segment/Match Quality- 6/10 Woo’s
Bayley vs. Nia Jax
Did I mention last week that I was sick of seeing this match? I’m not sure that I did, but here it is again, I’m sick of seeing this match. You need more than four women to have a women’s division on Monday Night Raw. This show needs Asuka, and it needs Asuka like yesterday.
Imagine if there were only four NFL teams and the season never ended. It doesn’t matter how good those teams are, eventually you’re going to stop watching. As for the stipulation that Nia Jax would be added to the Mania match if she won, we just saw this last week. If you’re going to repeat the same stipulation, you are going to completely eliminate the idea of stakes.
Raw’s women’s division is so much more talented than SmackDown’s, but blue brand is so, so, so much better. The match was no disqualification, but neither woman did anything to exploit it. Jax, who is supposed to be a monster by the way, grabbed one, but Bayley was able to knock it away.
Jax eventually won to chants of CM Punk, and this has been a terrible show for the girls. Womp womp womp. Nia Jax is in the fatal fourway, and you can’t help but think it should be Becky Lynch in her spot instead.
Segment/Match Quality- 3/10 Woo’s
Triple H Interview
Michael Cole interviewed Triple H as the final hour of the show kicked off. The Game blamed Seth Rollins for what happened to him. He said that Rollins suffered when he started listening to the crowd instead of listening to him.
Triple H blamed the crowd for getting Rollins and Foley hurt. That it’s smarter to ignore the cheers and to do the right thing. He blamed the crowd for everything that he did to Seth Rollins last week.
Triple H teased that there was a way that he and Rollins could fight at WrestleMania. He said that they could have a no-sanctioned match at WrestleMania. Next week, there will be a contract signing between the two men, and I’m ready to watch that already, I don’t need to see Undertaker interfere in the Reigns/Strowman match, let’s skip to that.
Segment/Match Quality- 8/10 Woo’s
Enzo & Big Cass and The Club vs. Sheasaro
In the weirdest handicap tag team match of all time, the Certified G’s and The Club teamed up to take on Sheasaro. As it turns out, the Club agreed, attacking their partners on the way to the ring.
Big Cass got revenge though, taking out Gallows on the sideline while Sheasaro teamed up on Karl Anderson, eventually hitting the Brogue Kick for the win. It was different. It kinda sucked to see the tag team champions looking weak this close to Mania, but the match itself was unique enough.
Segment/Match Quality- 6/10 Woo’s
Austin Aries vs. Tony Nese
It’s still so wild to see Austin Aries wrestling on Monday Night Raw. It’s just bizarre. As he’s getting ready to face Neville at WrestleMania, he faces off against mini-Neville, Tony Nese. Apparently Nese feels like he doesn’t get the respect he deserves, buuuuut maybe that’s because he never wins any matches. So…
This match might’ve been good. I wouldn’t know, because they went to commercial for most of the damn bout. I’m omitting the Woo grade because I honestly don’t know. We missed at least ten minutes of a match that couldn’t have been more than 12 minutes long.
Aries won, surprising nobody, and then the Cruiserweight Champion himself came out. The two exchanged barbs, but nothing truly noteworthy was said. Now let’s get to Reign vs. Strowman with obvious interference from Taker?
Segment/Match Quality- X/X Woo’s
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Have I said anything about getting tired of seeing the same people wrestle the same people? Because for the love of God, I’m tired of seeing the same matches over and over. Especially in this situation, where we’re just waiting for the gong to hit or Taker to appear.
It was a solid match, just one we’ve seen before. Strowman went to hit Reigns with the stairs, but instead Roman hit him with a superman punch. Reigns was gearing up for the Spear when, you guessed it, the gong hit.
This time, the dead man was standing in the middle of the ring, staring Reigns down. The deadman hit Strowman with a chokeslam, but this distracted him long enough for Reigns to hit him with a spear.
Segment/Match Quality- 8/10 Woo’s
Best Segment/Match of the Night- Highlight Reel
When I say that this was one of the best promos in Chris Jericho’s career, that means something. He’s one of the best talkers in the history of professional wrestling, and yet this promo just showed that his awesomeness knows no bounds. We’re gonna miss him.
Worst Segment/Match of the Night- Charlotte vs. Dana Brooke
Dana Brooke is not a good wrestler. This match was reminiscent of the Diva’s era of wrestling, and it literally put my girlfriend to sleep.
Show Quality- 8/10 Woo’s
It was a solid show. It didn’t really feel like a build-to-mania deal, but it was perfectly fine. Next week looks to be a pretty crazy show, and they better bring it. Mania season isn’t just upon us folks, it’s in full swing.