Raw started with a really good “in memory of Chavo Guerrero Sr.” graphic. It was a nice memorial photo, he was an outstanding asset to the wrestling world and this writer hopes he gets a video package somewhere in the show. There really shouldn’t be a reason not to, they have three hours to fill after all.
Stephanie McMahon got in the ring and did some spins. She comes up with some reason for Mick Foley not being there and says that she’s running Raw and gets some cheers. Roman Reigns’ music hits and a chorus of boos erupt in the audience. Let’s just recap here, Stephanie just got cheers and Roman gets boos. Duly noted.
Roman stares at Steph and said he isn’t waiting until Fastlane because he wants Braun Strowman right now. Stephanie said it’s not about her tonight and says it’s about what the WWE Universe wants. She asks the crowd if they want to see the match and the crowd popped loud. Steph says that the crowd doesn’t care about him, but she does because she wants to save him a beating.
Then Steph books a match between Braun and Mark Henry and the crowd went mild. Stephanie says that if Roman lays a hand on Strowman then “maybe” she’ll take away the match at Fastlane. Then The Club’s Music hits.
The Club comes out and talks all friendly to Steph to remind us that we’re supposed to boo them. They look so good with those red belts. Then The Club offers to go two-on-one against Roman, and Stephanie quotes Teddy Long by saying “playa” and “holla” while booking the match. Then Roman jumps The Club.
They brawl around and officials break them up to stat the match properly.
The Club vs Roman Reigns (2-on-1 handicap match)
It seems like they’ve done a lot of handicap matches lately, right? Maybe it’s because we just had that Ziggler vs. Kalisto/Crews match at last night’s Elimination Chamber, but it’s like “meh.”
Roman took some early damage because that’s how handicap matches work. The Club tagged in and out while executing some tandem and double teamed offense. The crowd was behind Reigns to a reasonable degree by the time he started his comeback. By the time he had Anderson in the corner giving him multiple short clotheslines he had a ton of people counting along with each one.
Reigns hit Anderson with a Superman punch just in time to get hit from behind by Gallows. Then the two began to stomp on him, it eventually became an outright beatdown and the referee called for the bell. Therefore The Club didn’t win that one, but the fans sure did.
They tried to hit Roman with the Magic Killer, but Roman squirmed out of it and got his heat back by causing Gallows and Anderson to retreat.
Kofi Kingston vs. Bo Dallas
The New Day take the stage and apparently Xavier Woods got to take his Patriots jersey off for television. These guys are so over, and, who happens to be in the ring? Oh, it’s Bo Dallas. Long time, no see Mr. Dallas. I guess his brother winning Smackdown’s belt last night might have been a good sign.
Xavier said that they have the blueprints of The New Day ice cream machine and he promises that as soon as Kofi’s done with Dallas then he will tell them all how they’re going to give people ice cream.
The “we want ice cream” chants were loud. Bo Dallas stole the ice cream blueprints and ripped them up. The New Day were very torn up about it and it was hilarious. Bo Dallas is really going for a harder edged character now, and it suits him. Unfortunately, it was no match for the SOS, and Kofi won this one.
Neville is interviewed but he is interrupted by Jack Gallagher who is a perfect gentleman about it. Gallagher is so great.
Noam Dar vs. Jack Gallagher
It’s purple ring time, which means that Austin Aries is back in the announce booth! We can only hope that the rumors are real and he’ll step up to take Neville out soon. It might happen at Fastlane during a post-match interview, but that’s only speculation.
Noam Dar is so young and so talented. If he keeps it up he’ll have a great career. But, Gentleman Jack is so much more over at this point. The only thing Dar has going for him is it’s funny to hear him say “Fooooox.”
Dar transitioned between complicated submission holds and pummeling Gallagher as he maintained control on the inside of the ring while Alicia Fox cheered him on at ringside. Gallagher eventually took control, delivered a great headbutt, a stiff running dropkick, and that was all she wrote for Dar.
Neville came out and raised his Cruiserweight Title with an intense look on his face.
Samoa Joe arrives in a suit followed by Triple H who is also in a suit. They look very badass right now and these two together is absolute money.
And Emmalina is premiering next.
Emmalina Premieres (Finally)
WWE has been running promos for Emmalina forever and it’s about time they deliver. It might be another Gobbledy Gooker, but at least it’s something.
Emmalina arrived on the stage wearing a sequined dress and spoke about how we’ve waited 17 weeks, and she’s finally here to complete the makeover from Emma to Emmalina. Then she said that we are now going to see the makeover from Emmalina to Emma.
And that was it, did Monty Python write this Emmalina angle? Well, that was fun. See ya in another 6 months, Emma!
Braun Strowman vs. Mark Henry
This really is kind of a dream match between two generations of strong men. These two pushed each other a little bit and went back and forth until Strowman hit Henry with a cheap shot and clotheslined The World’s Strongest Man down.
Strowman mocked Henry and got him in a rear chinlock to do more damage. Henry tried to get back up, but Braun chopped him in the chest to topple Henry once more. Then Henry blocked Strowman and made a comeback.
He splashed Strowman in the corner twice, picked up the Monster Among Men to slam him, but he fell backwards. Then Strowman hit Henry with an amazing looking dropkick for a man that big. He powerslammed Henry and got the win. Good God, that dropkick, though.
Roman’s music hit and he came to the ring as Braun stayed still and stared the Big Dog down. Roman got on the apron, but Braun hit him with a forearm that sent him flying. Roman got back in the ring and got his heat back a little until Strowman was able to catch him in a running powerslam to settle him down.
Strowman looks strong, which is a good thing. Roman gets beaten, which is also a good thing. If they want people to cheer for Reigns they have to make him lose these confrontations every now and then.
Enzo and Big Cass walk up to Cesaro and Sheamus and start some business with them. Sheamus gets all white in the face about Enzo getting involved in their match last week so they challenge each other. Enzo did a lot of talking while standing behind his 7-foot friend, they’re so good.
Samoa Joe Interview Segment
Michael Cole asks Joe if he’s there just because he’s afraid of Seth Rollins. “Redesign, rebuild, reclaim, re-injure” Joe says. He adds that it’s because of him that Rollins is going to miss two WrestleManias in a row. So they’re booking this match and promoting it without promoting it, pretty genius choice considering their awful situation actually.
Joe talked up his match against Roman last week. He said he’s there to destroy and he’s not a flash in the pan, he said he’s not like Sami Zayn who’s just happy to be on Raw. Looks like he means business.
Michael Cole reminds Joe about all of the other former partners of Triple H that he eventually feuded with so when it happens with Joe and Hunter, we won’t be surprised. Joe said that he’s not weak like those other guys (Michaels, Rollins, Batista) and says that we will know why the Creator unleashed the Destroyer.
Sami Zayn vs. Rusev
Handsome Rusev is back in action complete with his protective face mask. Sami dodged a spin kick from Rusev and it’s a good thing he did or else it would have killed him.
The Bulgarian Brute took control as Lana yelled sexy instructions in Russian from ringside. Zayn took a few right hands but used his speed to dropkick Ru-Ru and perform an aerial maneuver on the outside.
Rusev locked in a massive bear hug and followed it up by working on Zayn’s back. Rusev’s face guard came off and everyone got to see his handsomeness for a moment until he put it back on. Sami ended up on the top rope but still ended up with Rusev’s foot in the back of his head.
Rusev charged at Zayn, but he moved and he ended up eating the post. Even though Sami had glimpses that he was mounting a comeback, Rusev kept shutting him down time and time again. Then Sami hit Rusev with a Helluva Kick outa nowhere and scored a shocking clean win.
Did not see that one coming.
Sami cut a promo about getting back up after he gets knocked down and a Chumbawumba song starts playing in this writer’s head. Zayn made mention of Joe’s comments earlier and Samoa Joe came out to apply a massive beatdown on him. He got knocked down and this time Sami did not get up again.
Joe said that when someone says his name, then they need to put respect on it. Duly noted, scary Samoan Destroyer.
They run a promo package for Teddy Long because of his WWE Hall of Fame nomination. Good for Teddy — holla if ya hear me, playa!
Tozawa vs. Airya Daivari
Brian Kendrick was on commentary during this matchup and hyped himself up pretty hardcore. He said that he was the person who kicked the door open for so many others including Daniel Bryan, Tozawa, Aries, and more.
Daivari didn’t get any offense early on because he spent a lot of time receiving some very stiff shots. Ariya turned it around for himself until Tozawa hit him with a sick flying headbutt missile through the ropes on the outside. Tozawa hit Daivari with a German suplex for the win.
The Festival of Friendship
They’ve been running promos all night for the Festival of Friendship by playing highlights from the Chris and Kevin Show’s outstanding angle. The fact that this festival is taking place on the day before Valentine’s Day makes it even funnier.
They must have used all the pyrotechnics they had left before Vegas showgirls lined the stage and Jericho came out in a white fedora and matching jacket with mucho energy to kick off the festival. Owens came out with much less enthusiasm than Jericho.
While Jericho danced down the aisle, Kevin followed with no smile on his face. Owens was obviously still upset about Jericho accepting that match with Goldberg on his behalf.
Jericho unveiled some art that would represent the epitome of their friendship which was creepy if you want to overanalyze it, but it kind of resembled a DNA strand hugging itself. Y2J said it cost him $7,000 and KO said that it was a steal.
Then Chris unveiled a “Creation of Adam” parody painting with Kevin and Chris trading places with Adam and The Almighty. Everyone needs one of these hanging in their homes. This part did include the best line from Jericho though, “It’s art, you don’t need pants.”
Finally, Y2J introduced a magician named Friendship who was the modern-day equivalent of Yurple the Clown. The magic man didn’t impress KO, so he made the List of Jericho.
Y2J called Goldberg down to the ring to make up for his mess-up last week claiming that Bill wasn’t going to make it to Fastlane. Jericho stood there forever until Goldberg’s music hit, but the man didn’t show. However, Gillberg did. How clever!
Then Kevin Owens destroyed Gillberg on the entrance ramp.
Kevin said that he wanted to beat up Goldberg together, instead they got Gillberg. The fans obviously loved the throwback because “Gillberg” chants echoed in the arena.
Jericho got sincere for a moment and thanked Kevin for being his friend. He guaranteed that Owens will beat Goldberg at Fastlane because he’s going to have his back. The two hugged and Kevin said he got Jericho a gift as well. He handed Jericho a box that had a new list in it.
Jericho said, “wait, why is my name on this?” just as he lifted the clipboard out of the box to reveal that he was holding “The List of KO.” Before he knew it, Kevin started to attack Jericho inside the ring, threw him outside, and finished him off with a powerbomb on the apron. Those always look so painful.
Kevin threw Jericho inside and threw him through the Festival of Friendship sign. The broken sign being a metaphor for their finished friendship.
It looks like the best, best, best friendship of the WWE is over. It was quite a Festival of Friendship.
The Kevin and Chris Show was fun while it lasted. Chris was loaded into an ambulance to go to a “medical facility” to get checked on.
Enzo Amore vs. Cesaro
Enzo and Cass came out next to cheer the crowd up after they just witnessed the destruction of one of the best angles in WWE history. Enzo gave an analysis of Cesaro and deduced that he looks like a Baywatch lifeguard in his wrestling attire.
They must be trying to shift Cesaro more on the heel side of the spectrum by having him battle Enzo like this. At this point, anyone would be the heel going against the “Realest Guys in the Room” because they’re so over.
Enzo tried to shuck and jive around Cesaro, but a forearm uppercut stopped him in his tracks. Cesaro continued his stiff offence until Enzo countered with a DDT. Enzo did his little “Enzo Dance”, bounced off the ropes, and Cesaro hit him with his Swiss Uppercut finisher for the win.
Looks like Enzo’s mouth wrote a check that his ass couldn’t cash on that one.
Charlotte vs. Bayley (Women’s Title Match)
We did an entire match recap for this one, if you want to read it click here.
All we can say is, Bayley is the new Raw Women’s Champion! What the what?!