Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon Fired Mick Foley
It took eight months, but Foley finally started to stand up for himself on his way out. Better late than never, I guess. In addition to how beloved he is, he's a New York native, so the crowd was hot for him here and rallied behind him as he was being bulled by McMahon. Zayn also came across as being heroic when he came to the aid of Foley, setting up the subsequent match between him and Samoa Joe nicely.
Samoa Joe def. Sami Zayn
This was a bit more competitive than their match at Fastlane and it was more entertaining as a result. In fact, Zayn scored significantly more offense than I thought he would. Joe looked like an absolute beast in this bout, especially at the end, I liked how he once again won by submission. I really hoping they're holding off on Joe using the Muscle Buster until WrestleMania. Speaking of which, will he even have a match on the show? I figured they would save Joe vs. Zayn for 'Mania, but apparently not.
Charlotte Flair def. Dana Brooke
There were some rumblings last week that Brooke could be added to the Raw Women's Championship match at WrestleMania and I'm super glad that doesn't appear to be the case. It doesn't matter whether she's in the ring with Charlotte, Sasha Banks or Bayley; Brooke is absolutely atrocious and that was extremely evident in this match. The "We want Paige!" chants from the crowd didn't surprise me if only because you had to know they would wait until they were bored to chant that, and this contest wasn't compelling at all.
Kevin Owens Attacked United states Champion Chris Jericho on The Highlight Reel
Jericho's "He was marking out, maaaaan!" line got a big pop out of me, as well as when he showed the direct messages he and Owens exchanged on Twitter back in 2014. However, he took on a serious tone at just the right time and he cut a strong promo here addressing Owens. The attack that followed from Owens was well done and it was great he showed more of a ruthless side than usual as opposed to going back and forth on the mic with Jericho. Owens would usually be cheered by the Brooklyn crowd, but he's gaining more and more heat by the week by beating up on Jericho and went so far as to tear up "The List" here.
The Brian Kendrick def. TJ Perkins
Perkins and Kendrick had a handful of matches against each other late last year, so it's been established that they can have good matches, but this was way too brief to be anything consequential. Perkins is a complete afterthought in the division at the moment, though he could certainly benefit from a heel turn at some point. As for Kendrick's post-match promo, him stealing Tozawa's passport might have been a shot at Ring of Honor after it was announced earlier today that two of their wrestlers, including Jushin Thunder Liger, had to pull out of Supercard of Honor due to visa issues. Either that or it was a massive coincidence.
Nia Jax def. Raw Women's Champion Bayley in a No Disqualification Match to Qualify For the Raw Women's Championship Match at WrestleMania 33
From an in-ring standpoint, the match was fine, but obviously, it was a complete train wreck because the crowd couldn't have cared less and were more concerned with getting themselves over. There are times when I don't mind that and think it's fun, but this match was never given a chance by the crowd. If that wasn't bad enough, Bayley looked like a total loser here. Her main roster booking has been awful and her winning the title when she did has actually done more harm than good. Jax entering the title match makes sense, but at the same time, will it be a better bout with her a part of it? I doubt it.
Michael Cole Interviewed Triple H
It would have been cool if this was one of those old school interviews with Cole talking to Triple H backstage as opposed to in the ring, but I suppose they wanted HHH to feed off the crowd. At any rate, HHH's delivery in this segment was as great as it has been in recent weeks. I may be in the minority here, but I have been loving his promo work since returning a few months ago, perhaps because there is genuine excitement surrounding his natural rivalry with Seth Rollins. The tease of an Unsanctioned match between the two is exciting and those two could go all out if they're allowed to on the grandest stage of them all.
Cesaro and Sheamus def. Raw Tag Team Champions The Club and Enzo Amore & Big Cass in a 4-on-2 Handicap Match
Enzo and Cass felt like a much hotter act in their backyard of Brooklyn, but their pre-match mic work continues to be stagnant. The match itself was a waste of time. It barely lasted a minute and essentially nothing was accomplished because the match at WrestleMania remained the same. Brooklyn got to cheer their hometown boys and saw them stand tall, so they didn't crap on it for that reason, but the build to this Triple Threat tag team title match has left a lot to be desired so far.
Neville def. Tony Nese
Thankfully, this match didn't suffer the same fate as Perkins vs. Kendrick and they were instead given a decent chunk of time to showcase their skills. Aries should probably be more dominant in his matches heading into his upcoming championship clash with Neville, but this was still a nice match from him and Nese. I liked the post-match verbal exchange between him and Neville even more and that's the matchup I believe has the most potential of stealing the show at WrestleMania.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman Ended in a No Contest
Although Reigns and Strowman put forth a pretty good effort here, their Fastlane encounter was much better in my opinion. That might be because Strowman was still undefeated at the time and there was more uncertainty regarding the outcome, but this bout didn't interest me as much. That said, The Undertaker showing up brought the crowd back to life, and I was totally fine with Reigns hitting him with a Spear after he was laid out by 'Taker two weeks agp. Reigns may not be a full-fledged heel (yet), but he is undoubtedly being perceived as one in this program with Undertaker.
An electric environment can make all the difference, so thanks to Brooklyn for making this edition of Raw a bit more bearable for me. That isn't to say the show would have been terrible without them, but we have quiet crowds for Raw more often than not, so a lively audience every once in a while is a treat. No new matches were made official for WrestleMania (which could be a good thing because the card is already crowded as it is), and there wasn't any indication what Zayn, Joe and Strowman will be doing, but the hype for WrestleMania was solid. I'm looking forward to the Show of Shows because I'll be there, but WWE has one more week to convince everyone else it won't be trash. Fingers crossed they can deliver a home run of a go-home show next week.
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