Mr. McMahon Announced Kevin Owens Would Replace Kofi Kingston Against WWE Champion Daniel Bryan at WWE Fastlane
No contract signing in WWE (especially those that take place in the middle of the ring) ever go as planned, which is why this one being interrupted was hardly a surprise. However, I didn't expect Kingston to be bumped from the title match at Fastlane in favor of the returning Owens. Owens has recently been rumored to contend for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, but maybe WWE changed plans and will give that spot to Kingston instead. Either way, Kingston's days in the title picture are far from over.
The Hardy Boyz def. The Bar
Well, this was certainly unexpected. Apparently, The Hardy Boyz' contracts expire soon, so perhaps this was WWE's way of convincing them to re-sign. It's not like they had any plans for them on their own, anyway. Thus, I'm all for them reuniting in the SmackDown Live tag team division. They have history with The Bar and had a nice (albeit brief) match with them here. Sign me up for The Hardy Boyz vs. The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania, please.
Rezar def. No Way Jose
This was a rematch from last week's edition of Main Event. I don't know why we needed a rematch, but we got one, anyway. It was perfectly passable and actually a bit of an improvement over their previous encounter, yet nothing worth writing home about. Jose is just a utility player at this point and that's fine, while Rezar will likely continue to spin his wheels until his tag team partner Akam returns to action.
Apollo Crews def. EC3
EC3's main roster run has been an absolute mess thus far. He won his debut match against Dean Ambrose several weeks ago before losing to Ambrose in a rematch the following week. He hasn't been featured on Raw or SmackDown Live since. He played a more heel character here, which is the role he is the most comfortable in. It made sense considering Crews was the hometown hero and the crowd was behind him at various points. This was a well-wrestled affair, but the idea of EC3 losing to Apollo Crews on Main Event is just sad.
Roman Reigns Announced His Leukemia Was in Remission
I don't think anyone expected Reigns to be back so soon after he announced his leukemia had returned in October, but it's amazing that he is. He was clearly speaking from the heart here and he came off great. The crowd was also super classy in and it was just a stellar segment all around. Based off Baron Corbin's comments afterward, I assume Reigns will be facing him in his first match back. This was the most positive start to Raw in many months.
Aleister Black and Ricochet def. Raw Tag Team Champions The Revival (Non-title)
As fun of a match as this was, I hate seeing the Raw Tag Team Champions lose decisively two weeks in a row. They're still the same losers they were before, except now they just have belts around their waists. Meanwhile, I'd rather see Black and Ricochet featured individually on the main roster, but it actually does make sense from a storyline standpoint for them to be teaming up. After all, they recently formed an alliance on NXT and from what I understand, that will be continuing in the coming weeks, so I have no problem with them being a unit on Raw and SmackDown Live for the foreseeable future.
Moose vs. Killer Kross in an Impact World Championship No. 1 Contender's Match Ended in a No Contest
Johnny Impact opened the show to address his successful Impact World Championship defense from last week, only to be interrupted by Moose and Kross. So, he booked a No. 1 Contender's match between them. They took turns destroying each other here, so if wasn't already evident, the Moose-Kross alliance is officially over. Their match was cut short when Kross bated Impact into the ring and caused the contest to be thrown out. Brian Cage once again saved Impact afterward, so despite what happened at Uncaged, all four of these guys remain in the world title picture for now.
The Rascalz def. Desi Hit Squad
As I've said time and time again, Desi Hit Squad do absolutely nothing for me, but at least they're somewhat tolerable whenever they're up against an exciting team such as The Rascalz. Unsurprisingly, The Rascalz were largely responsible for this being a quality contest and I was glad that they emerged victorious. They've been an excellent addition to the IMPACT tag team division these past few months and I'd love to see them vying for the tag titles sooner rather than later.
Aleister Black def. Roderick Strong
Black came to the aid of Ricochet against Undisputed Era last week, hence why this match happened. I'm surprised that these two hadn't gone one-on-one prior to this point, but it certainly lived up to the hype in being an exciting affair. The lack of interference from the rest of Undisputed Era was appreciated and they were given the time necessary to have the contest they were capable of. Ricochet saved Black from Undisputed Era afterward, so it appears their alliance is headed somewhere.
Mia Yim def. Xia Li
Fans may remember Li from this year's women's Royal Rumble, where she had a nice little run for herself. She showed signs of potential then as well as in this match. Yim hasn't been featured much in the last few months, and while I'd love to think that this was designed to get her back on track, I assume Yim only won so it'll mean more when she faces Shayna Baszler next week (and loses). This was a decent matchup, though, as they worked a fun pace.
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