The show starts with Kevin Owens sitting on a chair in the ring, a spotlight shining on him. He says not the spotlight is on him alone, which is where it should be. He says that he knows he will beat Goldberg because every minute the match goes the more Goldberg’s opponent has the advantage, not to mention that Goldberg is an idiot while Owens isn’t. The promo is decent, and the crowd gave Owens real heel heat. He ended the segment, asking, “And about Chris Jericho?” Then he dropped the mic and walked away without answering.
The main event is Braun Strowman against The Big Show. After beating Henry last week, this must be the next way to build Strowman as the new big man supreme. It makes you wonder if he’ll be just as unimportant as they were a few years after their coronation.
The first match on the show is Enzo and Big Cass against Sheamus and Cesaro; the winner is the new number one contender to the tag titles. They proceed with a relatively dull match with some of the usual impressive athletic displays from Cesaro before Enzo and Cass eventually get the win. Enzo runs his mouth after the match making fun of Cesaro, and Sheamus Brogue Kick’d the hell out of him, leaving him prone.
Outcome: Enzo and Cass will face Gallows and Anderson at Fastlane for the tag belts…unless there is an injury angle with Enzo after the Brogue Kick.
Owens is leaving the building when Commissioner Mick Foley stops him and tells him not to leave: he has a match later with Sami Zayn. Owens responds that Foley better watch out or he’ll have more wrestlers on the injured list than in the locker room.
Outcome: Creative can’t help themselves in further ruining the Zayn and Owens feud. This is their second RAW match after having their brilliant “final” confrontation in later summer.
We find out that Charlotte, earlier in the day on Twitter, demanded that Bayley relinquish her newly won title because of Sasha’s interference last week. We’ll get Bayley’s response later. Okay. Just to be clear, this is the same Twitter account where a few months ago, Charlotte – who was still a heel – wished Bayley – who was still a babyface – happy birthday to her “best friend.” This is further evidence that these performers need kayfabe social media accounts and real ones.
Foley is backstage telling Roman Reigns that he can’t have Braun Strowman until Fastlane. Gallows and Anderson interrupt and say they have some unfinished business with Roman. Apparently, getting embarrassed last week in a 2-on-1 match wasn’t enough. Instead, they want to do it again.
Next up, Brian Kendrick and Akira Tozawa are set to wrestle after weeks of Kendrick saying that he was Tozawa’s new mentor. Kendrick goes to shake his hand, but Tozawa refuses. Kendrick attacks him before the bell and puts him in the Bully Choke. Kendrick leaves afterwards and the match never starts. The crowd did not care that any of this happened. After the match, Kendrick says this was a “lesson in respect” for Tozawa.
Outcome: They will burn this feud on Fastlane or on 205 Live. Hopefully, it’s 205 Live where they might get 15 minutes rather than 5 minutes on the pay per view. Also the Smackdown crowd usually gives the cruiserweights more of a reaction so they’ll at least get some appreciation. They seriously need to rethink how they are handling this cruiserweight division.
Roman Reigns against The Club in a handicap match is next. Los Angeles doesn’t care for Roman either. Roman puts up another good fight against the tag team champions. The Club resorts to using a steel chair, but Roman turns the tables because, of course, he does and uses the steel chair on them and gets disqualified. He continues to beat them after the match. Roman stands tall.
Outcome: The Club’s stature is further diminished in the company. How is anyone supposed to believe them beating an actual tag team now? This little meaningless feud has unintentionally (or, who knows, intentionally) made Roman just as strong as any tag team on RAW. So, why should anybody care about the tag division?
The next match is The New Day versus Rusev and Jinder Mahal. The New Day come out with their usual routine, a little less funny than usual. The noteworthy items – they will “host” Wrestlemania this year, and they have “blueprints” for an ice cream machine. Apparently Lana also has the blueprints in his hand and reads them. A couple Russian hacking jokes later, the match starts. The New Day wins and gets their blueprints back. Yay?
Outcome: Nothing important. All six of these talents are wasted in this stupid comedy bit.
A nice “In Memoriam” video package is shown for George “The Animal” Steele.
Cruiserweight champion Neville and Jack Gallagher have their contract signing. Gallagher gets a decent reaction from the casual crowd attending RAW. Neville calls Gallagher a caricature of a gentleman; Gallagher proclaims himself a real gentleman. Neville tosses the table and tries to bully Gallagher who doesn’t back down.
Outcome: Neville and Gallagher is now official for Fastlane.
Nia Jax wrestles a jobber next. Nia gets little reaction from the crowd which is the norm now. Nia wins in less than a minute. She’s asked after match about the controversy over Bayley’s win. She says the only controversy is she hasn’t received a title shot yet.
Outcome: This is probably getting Nia involved in the Bayley/Charlotte/Sasha mess to set up the rumored four-way at Wrestlemania.
As part of their Black History Month series, they honor Barack Obama with a short video package since it is President’s Day. Every black star on the roster talks about what it means to them. My reaction to this is confusion. No black man outside The Rock has ever held the WWE World Title with the lineage to the original WWF title. More than 50 percent of the black superstars dance on their way to the ring. McMahon and his family just supported President Trump who spent a year saying the Barack Obama was a secret Muslim.
Bayley comes out to talk about her title win. She gets a “you deserve it” chant because everyone gets it. The fans truly need to stop making it about them with these chants. Bayley’s dad is there to see her tonight, and she’s happy. She has always wanted to stand in a ring with a Wrestlemania, and she’s happy. She says she’s not keeping her title, but Stephanie McMahon’s music hits and interrupts her.
Stephanie asks Bayley if this is really how she wants to win her title due to interference. She continues to guilt trip her by telling her that she’s doing a disservice to all the little girls in the audience that look up to her. Bayley looks like she’s getting ready to give up the belt when Sasha Banks’s music hits.
Stephanie asks why Sasha can’t stay out of Bayley’s business. Does she think Bayley is a “charity case?” Sasha tells her to listen to the audience: “they love you.” The crowd does not want her to give up her championship. Bayley says that the title should represent “competition” and teases giving up the title again. But, psych, she pinned Charlotte and she is keeping it. Sasha didn’t win the title for her; the fans won it for her apparently. This is the babyface of the division? Sigh.
Another longer sigh. Charlotte Flair’s music now plays. Charlotte apologizes to Stephanie for the other two being disrespectful. Charlotte invokes her rematch clause because she is going to take her title back. That’s more a face reaction than Bayley’s. Sasha challenges Charlotte to a match tonight. Stephanie says the match will start right now.
Outcome: An overly long segment that made little sense from a character standpoint but sets up the Charlotte/Bayley rematch.
Back from the commercial break, Charlotte and Sasha are mid-match. This is a mediocre match that ends when they replay the ending of last week’s title match. Dana Brooke interferes to help Charlotte, but Bayley interferes to help Sasha. Sasha wins with the Bank Statement.
Stephanie is upset and embarrassed backstage. Mick Foley gloats a little. In return, Stephanie says that Mick’s time off last week obviously didn’t teach him a lesson. Foley tells her to “not treat him like [he’s] stupid.” As he can still do occasionally, he turns on the passion to cut a strong, short promo about how he will not be “belittled” by her or HHH even though he knows he’s committing “career suicide.” He walks away as Stephanie says hatefully, “Be careful…there’s a cord on the floor. I wouldn’t want you to have a fall.”
Outcome: This is inevitably leading to Foley being fired or quitting. There will be a new commissioner, probably post Wrestlemania.
Universal Champion Kevin Owens faces Sami Zayn next. Owens squashes Zayn, who gets zero offense in, in about three minutes. Commentary puts over that this is a “different” and more “diabolical” Kevin Owens, the one that debuted in NXT.
Outcome: Sami looks really weak here, but the job was done to make Owens look legit going into his match with Goldberg.
Backstage, Michael Cole has a sit down interview with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. The promo turns awkward when Brock puts his face into the camera and stares into it while Heyman talks about how Brock thinks Owens cannot beat Goldberg; if Goldberg has the Universal Title at Wrestlemania, then it’ll just be more incentive for Brock to beat him.
We are – finally – at the main event: Braun versus The Big Show. The ring is shown being reinforced by the ring attendants to compensate for the extra 800 pounds. The Big Show looks great with his weight loss and new muscle mass. The crowd is hype for the match, and into it through out.
Braun survives a chokeslam and Knock-Out Punch from the Show before eventually Braun over-the-shoulder powerslams him twice for the win. Roman Reigns’s music hits. He comes out and attacks Braun. Roman goes for the spear but it is countered with a dropkick from Strowman. He then powerslams Roman and leaves him lying broken. The show ends with Braun laughing at injured Reigns.
Outcome: Braun looks strong as hell both physically and in his positioning heading into Fastlane. Of course, this could just be another way to get Roman over by beating him, which always has to be in the back of every fan’s mind by now.
Overall, this was another three hour RAW. Foley getting in Stephanie’s face was a highlight and perhaps KO’s promo at the beginning if only because he actually felt like a champion for the first time. The show was oddly paced with some downright bizarrely booked segments (Bayley/Sasha/Stephanie/Charlotte, Regins/The Club, Brock’s big face in the camera, etc.) The are treading water until Fastlane ends at this point so they can start the build to Wrestlemania.