The main storyline of this week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw featured Commissioner Stephanie McMahon telling General Manager Mick Foley that he had to pick somebody on the Raw roster who should be fired. It was her way of teaching him tough love while helping him improve as the GM of the show.
During the show, there were several backstage segments with Mick and Stephanie where he was shown agonizing over his decision because he didn’t want to fire anybody. I was on Twitter during the show as a lot of fans were throwing theories at me. My feeling was that he was going to fire himself because he was so sick of dealing with Stephanie’s lies, but that’s not what happened.
The main event of Raw was all about who Mick was going to fire. Frankly, I thought this was a poor way to end the show. It didn’t come across as a big deal. If I was a casual viewer, I would have tuned out much earlier in the broadcast because it was boring for most of the night. It’s not like fans ever believe firing angles are legit in wrestling anyway, so I just roll my eyes when WWE does that for an angle.
— WWE (@WWE) March 14, 2017
Foley was in the ring with McMahon and he told her after thinking about it for a while, the person he wants to fire is…Stephanie McMahon. The crowd loved that idea. They cheered a lot. However, Stephanie noted that she is his boss and he can’t fire her. Foley said that she makes people’s lives miserable and she’s the one that needs to go to make Raw better. Can we get a better creative team to make Raw better too? That would be nice.
Triple H, the on screen COO of WWE, showed up in a suit to defend his wife. Hunter said he’s building talent for the future because he didn’t want to look at pathetic has-beens like Foley. Hunter noted that Stephanie actually liked Foley and that’s why he got the job. Hunter told Foley that she’s the businesswoman Vince taught her to be. There was a mild “CM Punk” chant from the crowd, which led to a bit of a delay by Hunter, but he carried on fine.
Foley did a good job of replying to Triple H by saying that unlike the superstars, he doesn’t have to pretend to like Triple H. Foley said that he liked what he saw in the mirror while Hunter mocked him for how he looked. Hunter mocked him some more and told him he needs to have this job to support his kids. Hunter said that if Stephanie tells him to jump then “You better jump, monkey!” Hunter told him to leave the ring.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) March 14, 2017
Foley chose to not leave the ring. He stood in the corner, pulled out Mr. Socko (a sock that he puts on his hand), put it on his hand as if this was 1999 and applied the Mandible (Socko) Claw to Triple H. The crowd went wild for it. The move was on briefly until Stephanie hit Foley with a low blow from behind. It looked like Triple H was going to finish off Foley, but Seth Rollins showed up.
Rollins had a crutch with him similar to the last time we saw him. Big ovation for Rollins. Rollins dropped the crutch as if to tell us he’s doing just fine now. Rollins had a knee brace on his right knee. They brawled in the ring with the crowd going wild. Rollins hit Hunter with a running kick that knocked him out of the ring. It turned out to be a bad move.
Hunter grabbed the crutch, went into the ring and hit Rollins in the knee with the crutch. Hunter swung the crutch and hit him in the knee again. Hunter applied a knee bar submission leading to Rollins yelling in pain. Referees went into the ring to break it up. Hunter hit him in the knee with the crutch again and that’s how Raw ended.
I thought the segment was well done. Great job by Rollins showing that he has recovered from the knee injury enough to get back in the ring for a fight with Hunter. Triple H is at his best in situations like that where he’s the heel beating somebody up. I liked how Hunter got the upper hand because it makes Rollins a more sympathetic figure, which is easy to do since he’s the injured good guy in the scenario.
It would seem like the WrestleMania match is definitely a go now, since Rollins was cleared enough to take some bumps. If he wasn’t ready, then there’s no way they would have booked something like that.
If you’re wondering, nobody was fired during the segment where somebody was supposed to get fired. However, it does appear as Foley may be axed as GM of Raw soon. It would make sense to put Kurt Angle in that spot after WrestleMania. It’s an idea that would work really well and could led to Angle having some matches later in the year as well. As for Foley, he’s having hip replacement surgery soon. All of the travel he does isn’t good for his body, so this is likely the end of his run as GM of Raw.
This Week’s Raw Matches
It was another week where no matches stood out as being great. For a three-hour show, that shouldn’t happen. There’s time to have great matches. Instead, there were a lot of quick matches and three of them ended in a disqualification.
Sasha Banks defeated Dana Brooke
They got about two minutes with Banks sitting on top of Brooke for the pin.
After the match, Charlotte Flair went into the ring and yelled at her ally Brooke, saying that she didn’t deserve to be by Charlotte’s side. Brooke nailed Charlotte with a forearm to the face. They brawled outside the ring, then Charlotte went back into the ring and got away.
The crowd chanted “Dana” in support for Brooke since they don’t like Charlotte. The angle was well done. I don’t think Brooke is a great performer at this point, but they paid off the angle well with the idea that Charlotte is on her own now.
Tony Nese & Brian Kendrick defeated Akira Tozawa & T.J. Perkins
They got about 10 minutes with the heel duo of Nese and Kendrick getting the win. There was a miscommunication issue between the faces as Perkins looked for a tag and Tozawa wasn’t on the apron. Nese shoved Perkins into Tozawa and they did a roll-up finish to give Nese the win. Solid match, but the crowd didn’t care that much.
Chris Jericho & Sami Zayn defeated Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn by disqualification
Owens did a promo before the match about how he’s going to beat Jericho for the US Title at WrestleMania.
I was excited about this match, but it was more of an angle than a match. After about four minutes of action, Owens and Joe attacked Zayn with punches and kicks. They wouldn’t stop, so the ref called for the bell for the disqualification ending.
After the match, Jericho tried to save Zayn after Joe put Zayn in the Coquina Clutch. There was a fun moment where Jericho brawled with Owens as if they were in a hockey fight. Joe helped Owens and the heels double-teamed Jericho with Owens hitting a Popup Powerbomb to end it. At one point, fans chanted “We Want Balor,” but there was no sign of Balor even though he returned to action at live events on Friday and Saturday this past weekend.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Cesaro & Sheamus ended in a disqualification
The outcome of this match was obvious as soon as it began. They went about eight minutes when Gallows & Anderson showed up to hit Sheamus and Cass with kicks on the floor. The ref rang the bell for the disqualification. After the match, Gallows & Anderson beat up all four guys to look dominant.
Later in the show, Raw GM Mick Foley told G&A that they have to defend the Raw Tag Team Titles against Enzo & Cass and Cesaro & Sheamus at WrestleMania. This was an angle that WWE has done many times in the past where a match ends in a disqualification to set up a triple threat. WWE booking is not that creative.
Roman Reigns defeated Jinder Mahal
The funniest thing on the show was Mahal saying he was a “main event talent” in a backstage segment. No Jinder, you are not. During the match, the Undertaker’s “gong” sound hit, but he did not appear. Reigns was distracted by it briefly. Reigns won with two Superman Punches, so at least in the future I can say he won a match with that move. Post-match, Reigns did a promo that I’ll cover later.
Austin Aries defeated Ariya Daivari
Easy win for Aries in his Raw debut. He won in about four minutes with a spinning elbow smash to the face. Daivari rarely wins, so the outcome was never in doubt. I’m a big Aries fan. Great worker and I’m glad he’s finally on Raw.
Big Show defeated Titus O’Neil
This was set up because Titus was mad that Big Show was in a WWE/Jetsons movie instead of him. I’m not joking. That was why they did the match. Show won easily with three Chokeslams.
Show’s rumored match against Shaquille O’Neal is off for WrestleMania. I’m not sure why, but it is. Show is part of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at WM, so WWE is giving him wins every week to make him look like a threat to win. I think Strowman will win it.
Bayley defeated Nia Jax by disqualification
It was not for the Women’s Title held by Bayley. Jax dominated most of the seven-minute match. Bayley got some offense in working on the knees, but Jax kept on using her power for the advantage. The finish was lame as Jax stomped away on Bayley in the corner and didn’t stop, so the ref rang the bell. Post-match, Jax tossed Bayley into the barricade to end it.
That’s three disqualification finishes on this show. Two of them had similar finishes with the heels not letting up. Repetitive match finishes is not a good thing.
Other Key Items From Raw
1. Brock Lesnar stood in the ring while Paul Heyman talked trash about Goldberg
There was no sign of the Universal Champion Bill Goldberg on Monday night, so his WrestleMania opponent Brock Lesnar and advocate Paul Heyman were there to talk trash. As usual, Lesnar said nothing the entire time while Heyman spoke for about 10 minutes. Lesnar just stood there making mean faces.
Heyman talked about how Goldberg has beaten Lesnar in the past but last week on Raw, it was Lesnar who dropped Goldberg with a F5. Heyman said at WrestleMania it will be “Down Goes Goldberg,” similar to the famous boxing line of “Down Goes Frazier” in reference to boxer Joe Frazier about 40 years ago.
The crowd booed Goldberg’s name at one point since he wasn’t at the show and they also chanted “Goldberg” at one point as well. The promo from Heyman was good, as usual, but there was nothing about it that made it stand out.
2. Roman Reigns told Shawn Michaels he will retire The Undertaker
After Roman Reigns easily beat Jinder Mahal, he called out The Undertaker. The show went to break with the idea that when they came back, we might see The Undertaker. Instead of Undertaker, the legendary WWE Hall of Famer (and my favorite wrestler) Shawn Michaels showed up. Michaels had the best WWE match ever with Undertaker at WrestleMania 25 and then one year later at WrestleMania 26, Undertaker beat him again leading to Michaels retiring in 2010.
Michaels was there to warn Reigns about Undertaker getting into his head with mindgames. Michaels noted that Reigns was distracted when the gong sounded during his match. Michaels called himself “Mr. Wrestle-freaking-Mania,” and told Reigns he knows what it’s like to be on top while everybody else secretly hopes you are going to fail.
Reigns thanked Michaels for the advice. Reigns said: “With all due respect, The Undertaker retired you.” The crowd booed that. “And I’m the guy that’s going to retire him.” The crowd hated that too. Reigns left.
When Reigns was standing on the ramp, Braun Strowman attacked him and knocked him down. It was a great bump by Reigns. Fans chanted “Thank You Strowman” since they don’t like Reigns. Later on Raw, it was announced that Strowman will face Reigns on Raw in Brooklyn next week.
That was well done because Reigns showed a lot of cockiness in that promo. Does that mean he’s a heel? I’m not sure, but that’s what I would do with him. It’s been two years of him being booed and this would be the perfect storyline to turn him heel by having him beat the beloved Undertaker at WrestleMania.
3. Eric LeGrand announced as Warrior Award Winner at WWE Hall of Fame
It was announced earlier on Monday that Eric LeGrand, a former college football player from Rutgers, will be a part of the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony this year as the “Warrior Award” winner. LeGrand had a severe neck injury during a football game in 2010, was given a diagnosis that did not have a good outlook and has made a lot of progress since then.
These days, he works as a motivational speaker and is inspiring to a lot of people. LeGrand is a huge WWE fan, so that’s why they are honoring him.
For the last two years at the WWE Hall of Fame, the Warrior Award has been handed out. It is named after The Ultimate Warrior, who passed away a few days after his 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction. Warrior’s wife, Dana Warrior, has a contract with WWE as an ambassador and she is presenting LeGrand with the award.
I like that WWE does stuff like this. It’s similar to the ESPYs and other awards shows honoring people who have overcome difficulties in their lives. The video package was great.
Looking Ahead To WrestleMania 33
— WWE (@WWE) March 14, 2017
The next WWE pay-per-view event is WrestleMania 33 in Orlando, Florida on April 2. Here are the matches announced for the show.
WWE Universal Championship: Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
WWE Championship: Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
United States Championship: Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens
Raw Women’s Championship: Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks
Raw Tag Team Championships: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Enzo & Cass vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss vs. other Smackdown women – match type not yet confirmed
Andre the Giant Battle Royal – Some of the names announced so far are Big Show, Mojo Rawley and Apollo Crews. I think Braun Strowman will win it.
Other likely matches that aren’t official right now, but will be soon:
Seth Rollins vs. Triple H
AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon
John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse
Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin
Cruiserweight Championship: Neville vs. Austin Aries (There’s a 5-way match on 205 Live tonight that Aries should win.)
That’s 13 matches and if they include the Smackdown Tag Titles, then that’s one more.
It was another average edition of Raw this week. I hate being negative, but I have a hard time praising a show with matches that weren’t very exciting with match finishes that made me groan because of how obvious they were. The only promo segment that was interesting was the main event, and it took them 20 minutes to do that. At least there was some added heat to the Triple H/Rollins story to make up for the lack of Goldberg and Undertaker on the show.
I could have gone to this show in Detroit because it was two hours away from me. If Raw was a better show, I would have made the trip. Since it has been below average a lot in the last few months, I chose to stay home. I think I made the right choice.
Next week’s Raw will feature Chris Jericho hosting the “Real” Kevin Owens on the Highlight Reel and Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman one more time as a big main event match.