Braun Strowman Interrupted WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and United States Champion Chris Jericho
Owens and Jericho were entertaining as always and this was a solid follow-up to the events that occurred at the Royal Rumble. Are we sure that footage of Strowman, Owens and Jericho backstage on Raw from last month wasn't indeed edited? I do not remember that happening whatsoever, but if that was real footage, I applaude them for the rare storyline consistency. They set up the night's main event nicely as well as the subsequent mach between Jericho and Zayn.
Sami Zayn def. United states Champion Chris Jericho (Non-title)
I was surprised they cut this feud short late last year following their entertaining encounter at Clash of Champions, but it makes even more sense that they're revisiting it now that Jericho is the United States champion. They have terrific chemistry together and this was another real fun match from them. It's encouraging that Zayn appears to have direction coming off his recent program with Strowman, but will they hold off on the rematch until Roadblock in early March?
Tony Nese def. Mustafa Ali
Both of these guys desperately need momentum and a few wins right now, so it's a shame they went one-on-one because I'm not sure who benefits. It was a nice little match while it lasted, but Creative isn't doing these guys any favors. Austin Aries was not only hilarious in his assessment of Nese, he was accurate, too. I am anticipating the day Aries steps back in the ring. Meanwhile, I honestly couldn't care less about Nese and his lack of charisma.
Stephanie McMahon Confronted Seth Rollins
The Triple H and Rollins angle from NXT TakeOver: San Antonio was exceptional, though I was admittedly dreading this segment if only because Stephanie manages to emasculate everyone on the active roster, male or female. Thankfully, Rollins showed some fire here and stood up for himself, going so far as to threaten invading WWE's headquarters (how many fans do you think were planning on doing that after the Royal Rumble on Sunday?). Stephanie announcing HHH was on his way to the arena was a hell of a hook for the rest of the show.
Bayley, Cesaro and Sheamus def. Raw women's Champion Charlotte Flair and Raw Tag Team Champions The club
I liked that they set this match up via that brief backstage bit earlier in the evening. It makes these matches feel that much more meaningful and that they aren't completely random. This was a pretty simple way to further the feuds involved and the crowd was engaged in the action. The finishing sequence was well done and obviously Bayley pinning Charlotte should earn her another shot at the title in the near future, if not at Fastlane. Even as champions, The Club can't buy a victory.
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville and Rich Swann Brawled
Perhaps this is just me, but I have thoroughly enjoyed this feud over the past month. Neville is incredible in the heel role and it's easy for fans to cheer for and rally behind Swann, but for whatever reason, this program hasn't clicked with the majority. That was evident during this segment where the audience mostly sat on their hands, even during what should have been a hot brawl. What will it take for fans to invest in this struggling division? Meanwhile, Neville's mic work was decent, but he should cut out all the campy "king" lines in his promos.
Braun Strowman def. WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens by Disqualification
The heel vs. heel element of this match wasn't what bothered me because it made sense from a storyline standpoint, but rather how the ending outcome was extremely predictable with Roman Reigns interfering. The bout was held at the 10 p.m. hour. Did they truly think people would buy into the title changing hands at that point in the show? Yes, Owens retained the title, but he was speared for his troubles by Reigns, anyway. It looks like it will be Reigns vs. Strowman at Fastlane, leaving me to think Owens will take on Goldberg, unless this becomes a Triple Threat for the title. That said, I am beyond tired of the Reigns vs. Owens dynamic and am ready for them to move on from that.
Brock Lesnar Challenged Goldberg to a Match at WrestleMania
Paul Heyman was back in "beast" (no pun intended) mode tonight with another awesome promo discussing how desperate Lesnar is to get that win over Goldberg. We all saw this coming as soon as Goldberg beat him in under two minutes at Survivor Series, so I can't say I'm surprised by this development, but I appreciated how they announced the marquee matchup so far in advance. Now the question is whether Goldberg wins the WWE Universal title between now and then, and I sincerely hope that isn't what happens.
Nia Jax def. Sasha Banks
The fact they didn't wait longer to go back to this match after the Royal Rumble makes me think they have other plans in mind for the immediate future of the division, such as Sasha going heel (which I would be in full favor of). Jax had an even more dominant performance than she did on Sunday night, but it's a shame that all people will be talking about coming out of this will be that botched (?) finish. What the hell was that? Someone's getting fired.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass def. Rusev and Jinder Mahal in a Tag Team Tornado Match
First and foremost, I have to say, I might not be opposed to Enzo and Cass never talking before their matches ever again. It used to be my favorite part of their act, and regardless of whether WWE is scripting this trash for them or they're coming up with it themselves, it needs to end. At any rate, for as much as I have loathed this feud, this was a fine match and all four guys put forth a good effort, but here's hoping we never see them interact again.
Samoa Joe Attacked Seth Rollins
Before we address the obvious, Triple H's promo was fantastic I thought. He did a hell of a job recapping the history he and Rollins have had over the years for anyone who may have forgotten. This is the Triple H we need to see more of going forward. I was pumped to see him and Rollins finally go at it... and then Samoa Joe appeared!! A well-deserved (and long overdue) call-up to the main roster. He is a huge deal out of the gate in this feud with Rollins, but fingers crossed he isn't just a stepping stone for Rollins before he likely faces Triple H at WrestleMania. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it and just live in the moment: Samoa Joe is on Raw!
I might be in the minority in this, but I didn't mind this show too much and the three hours largely flew by for me, and that's especially impressive when you consider we're coming off a six hour pay-per-view from the night prior. That said, this was far from a great show on the whole, and other than Jericho and Zayn contesting a strong match, the Rollins and HHH was what maintained my interest throughout the night, leading to the newsworthy debut of Joe. I'm a bit more hopeful for WrestleMania coming out of this episode, though, and we'll see what else they have in store in the weeks ahead.
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