WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens Interrupted Goldberg
Goldberg was very good on the mic here, which is what happens when he doesn't bang his head relentlessly on a door before he comes out to the ring and cause himself to lose his train of thought. In all seriousness, this was one of his better promos since returning as he kept his address of Owens and Brock Lesnar short and sweet. Speaking of Owens, he cut an excellent promo of his own and I love how his tone of voice has been different and more menacing since turning on Chris Jericho. He's 100 percent in serious mode, and as a result, he comes across as a true threat. The only thing I ask at this point is that WWE doesn't have Owens get beat by Goldberg in a matter of minutes at Fastlane.
The New Day def. Rusev and Jinder Mahal
I honestly had no interest in seeing this match last week, let alone again this week. And no, them mocking the ending to the Oscars (which I didn't watch but heard all about on social media on Sunday night) did not make this worth it in the slightest. New Day are still over with the audience (even though this crowd was quiet for them), but given they'll be spinning their wheels until they host WrestleMania 33 in April, I just can't bring myself to care about anything they're involved in. This match was decent yet nothing spectacular. Rusev deserves so much better. Based off what we saw afterward, could a face turn be in his future?
Akira Tozawa def. Noam Dar
Tozawa has been one of the few Cruiserweights so far who has done a successful job so far of connecting with crowds, and his "AH!" war cry (or whatever the hell it is) has a lot to do with that. Yes, he is awesome in the ring as well, but so are a lot of the other Cruiserweights, but it's his charisma that will take him to the top of the division. Him and Dar weren't given a ton of time for their match, but it was fun while it lasted. As for The Brian Kendrick's post-match attack and promo, it was well done and furthered their feud along.
Nia Jax and Charlotte Flair def. raw Women's Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks
The verbal back and forth between Bayley, Charlotte and Banks prior to the match was solid, but I feel like I've heard it all before. The same can be said for their matches, and it's a shame because they're all very talented. As well-wrestled as this was, it's difficult to get invested in this division when you know Charlotte is likely winning the belt back at Fastlane. With the exception of Alicia Fox, this match featured everyone in the women's division with Dana Brooke at ringside. Raw needs the injured/inactive likes of Paige, Summer Rae and Emma now more than ever.
Big Cass def. Raw Tag Team Champion Luke Gallows
The Club failed to defeat Roman Reigns in back-to-back Handicap matches these past two weeks, so why would fans have any reason to believe that Gallows could beat Cass one-on-one? This wasn't entirely terrible, though there were a few sloppy spots here and there that came off awkwardly. Cass winning to build momentum toward the tag title match at Fastlane was logical, but The Club continue to look like losers. Will they ever catch a break?
Sheamus def. Titus O'Neil
I had my hopes up for a split second that WWE was actually going to do something meaningful with O'Neil for a change, but no such luck. I suppose this was better than having Sheamus squash O'Neil without putting up any sort of a fight, but this was almost as pointless. Unless the idea is to put the two in a full-fledged feud together (and even that doesn't overly intrigue me), this was purely designed to kill time and nothing more.
Seth Rollins Revealed His WrestleMania 33 Status
Any longtime wrestling fan would have automatically assumed that Rollins would ditch the crutch and knee brace by the end of this segment, but that sadly didn't happen. That said, he did claim he would be at WrestleMania, though it was never made clear whether he would be wrestling or not. Is that a sign not even WWE knows yet whether he'll be ready to go by then? At any rate, the mic work from Triple H and Rollins was strong and I'm as anxious as ever to see them face off eventually. Fingers crossed it's at WrestleMania 33.
Big Show def. The Shining Stars in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
I don't mind Show as much as I once did, if only because he isn't in a prominent role on programming anymore, but this was a waste of time. I've heard rumors that his long-awaited WrestleMania match with Shaq might be off, and if that's the case, what do you do with him instead? Show has gone on record in saying this upcoming WrestleMania might be his last, so it would be unfortunate if he was relegated to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal again.
Jack Gallagher and TJ Perkins def. WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville and Tony Nese
Was that miscommunication between Perkins and Gallagher early on a botch or possibly a planting of the seeds for a future heel turn for Perkins? Either way, the bout barely lived up to its full potential because of its brevity. Gallagher adding a new submission finisher to his arsenal was a nice touch, but it looked like a regular move to me. Maybe it will take time to grow on me, we'll see. I didn't come away from this matchup any more excited for the Cruiserweight title match at Fastlane, either, but I think it could be a blast if Neville and Gallagher are given an ample amount of time.
Samoa Joe def. Cesaro
I don't think it would have hurt to cut the Handicap match and/or Sheamus vs. O'Neil so this matchup could receive more time. What we got, though, was quite good, unsurprisingly. They worked really well together in Ring of Honor and that chemistry has carried over to WWE. Cesaro did a fantastic job of selling the storyline knee injury and Joe came off like a beast for capitalizing on it. The Muscle Buster would have been the perfect finish for this match, but since he didn't use it, I'm left to assume it's been banned on the main roster, so I hope I'm wrong and they're saving it for something else. The brawl between Joe and Sami Zayn was one of the hottest things on the entire show and I look forward to their Fastlane match.
Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman Brawled
Well, this wasn't much of a contract signing, and thankfully so. But why even advertise it as such? It's more of a turnoff for viewers in my opinion than an attraction. Regardless, this might have been the best Reigns and Strowman brawl to date. As I've said in recent weeks, I'm a big fan of how they have had Strowman get the better of Reigns in each of their encounters. Fifty-fifty booking be damned! I fear this is leading to Reigns easily overcoming Strowman in their match, but the build has certainly exceeded my expectations over the past month.
Holy crap, this Green Bay crowd was absolutely awful. In their defense, there wasn't a ton to get excited about, but they weren't into anything other than the two brawls in the third hour and Goldberg at the start of the show. They were lifeless for just about everything else. This was one of the weaker editions of Raw in recent memory, and it's too bad that had to happen on the go-home show before Fastlane. On the bright side, they ended the evening on a high note, but this was still a dull episode where the three hours dragged more than they normally do. Raw-exclusive pay-per-views aren't normally above-average, but let's hope Fastlane is the ultimate exception.
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