Posted January 31st, 2017 by Bill Apter

The show started off great-
With our favorite bromantic duo.
Crazy things started to happen
In the heart of Laredo.

There was a Universal Title Match.
It did not end well for Strowman.
The Beast even showed up.
Strong words by Mr. Heyman.

Waiting to see The Game again.
Rollins delivered a powerful promo.
Overall, the show was great –
Thanks to the appearance of Samoa Joe.

Raw was live in Laredo, Texas

Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho came out. Owens talked about his Royal Rumble match. He thanked Jericho for helping him retain his title. Then, Jericho bragged that his accumulative time in the Royal Rumble match was 4 hours, 56 minutes and 12 seconds and referred himself as the “61 minute man”. Braun Strowman interrupted to confront Owens. Strowman demanded a title shot that Owens promised him. Strowman showed an old footage of Owens promising him a title shot. Mick Foley appeared and made the Owens/Strowman match for the Universal Title official.

Thoughts: This was a great opening and match announcement. I am sure I was not the only one who forgot that Owens promised Strowman a title match. When Strowman came out and reminded Owens (and everyone else), I was very excited about it because I knew Owens versus Strowman for the Universal Title would make an interesting match.

Chris Jericho VS Sami Zayn
Zayn was very impressive in the beginning as he took control. There were some arm twists and chops. Jericho retreated to ringside, and Zayn went after him. As the referee was between them, Jericho delivered a springboard assault on Zayn to take control. Then, Zayn was able to turn things around with his aerial moves before commercial break. After the break, Jericho took over. Zayn fought back and hit the Blue Thunder Bomb. He went for the pin but Jericho kicked out. Zayn went for the Helluva Kick but Jericho grabbed him and applied the Walls of Jericho. Zayn grabbed the ropes. At the end, Zayn suplexed Jericho, hit him with the Helluva Kick and pinned him for the win.

Thoughts: Good match. There were a few “Wow!” moments. I would like to see these two go at it again – but with the United States Title on the line.

Backstage – Sheamus and Cesaro got into a little argument for their actions at Royal Rumble. Cesaro confronted Sheamus for trying to eliminate him, and Sheamus confronted Cesaro for trying to give him the Swing. Bayley appeared as the peacemaker and initiated a group hug. Charlotte, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson appeared and made fun of them before their Mixed Tag Team Match.

Backstage – Kevin Owens approached Stephanie McMahon and pleaded with her to cancel his match against Strowman.

Tony Nese VS Mustafa Ali
Ali performed a few aerial maneuvers. Then, Nese gained control and showed some aggression. The match went back and forth. At the end, Nese hit Ali with a running knee strike. He pinned Ali for the victory. After the match, Austin Aries tried to interview Nese but Nese said that he does not have to answer critics’ questions and walked away.

Thoughts: I thought this was an impressive Cruiserweight match. Nese brought his A game with high impact moves. Ali was amazing in this match also. I wish this match lasted a little longer.

Seth Rollins came out. He called out Stephanie McMahon – who came out. She announced that Triple H was not in the building. Stephanie said that her husband is afraid of what he might do to Rollins and demanded an apology for Rollins’s actions. Rollins threatened to make more appearances as he brought up the idea of showing up at the headquarters and even their home. Before Stephanie left, she announced that Triple H was on his way to the building.

Thoughts: This was a great segment involving Rollins and Stephanie. Rollins stressed out at the fact that he has nothing to lose and was very passionate about getting his hands on Triple H.

6-Person Mixed Tag Team Match
Cesaro, Sheamus & Bayley VS Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows & Charlotte
Cesaro and Anderson started the match. Gallows was tagged in. Cesaro took control with a few uppercuts. Before the commercial break, Charlotte got involved, and the champions were in control. After commercial break, Cesaro was still being dominated by Gallows and Anderson. Sheamus was tagged in. Then, the two women were going at it. At the end, Bayley hit the Belly-to-Bayley Suplex on Charlotte for the win.

Thoughts: Great talents involved but it was an okay match. It could have been better. They could have added more to this match like longer fight time between Charlotte and Bayley.

Backstage – Stephanie scolded Mick Foley for making the Owens/Strowman match for the Universal Title. Foley asked Stephanie to not treat him like he was stupid and give him some respect.

Neville came out. He had some strong words to say to the fans and referred himself as the King of the Cruiserweight division. Rich Swann came out to announce his rematch, and he showed respect for Neville to offer a handshake but Neville demanded that he bow down to him instead. Swann refused and a fight broke out.

Thoughts: It was a good segment. I think this dark image of Neville works in the Cruiserweight division. I look forward to seeing a rematch between Neville and Swann.

Backstage – Sasha Banks was getting her injured knee bandaged up. Bayley showed up and tried to talk her out of competing in another match against Nia Jax. Banks said that she has a lot to prove and does not want to come up short.

Backstage – Kevin Owens found out from Jericho that his match with Braun Strowman is still on. Owens became paranoid and wanted to make sure Jericho had his back.

Kevin Owens VS Braun Strowman
Jericho joined commentary. Strowman came out and attacked Jericho. He chokeslammed him through the announce table. After the bell rang, Owens ran to ringside, and Strowman chased him. After they entered the ring, Owens threw a few hits but Strowman overpowered him with attacks and was dominant in the beginning. Owens gained control when Strowman charged at him at ringside and missed. Toward the end, Roman Reigns came out and hit Strowman with a Superman Punch – which led to Strowman winning the match by DQ. He took out Strowman at ringside and speared Owens in the ring.

Thoughts: I had a feeling that this match was going to end with Reigns seeking revenge for what Strowman did to him at Royal Rumble. This match was good but I think it would be better if there was a Triple Threat Match for the Universal Title involving these three men.

A limo pulled into the parking lot. It was believed to be Triple H but it turned out to be Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman.

Lesnar and Paul Heyman came out. Heyman announced a Wrestlemania Match between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg. He mentioned that Lesnar’s legacy is on the line at Wrestlemania in his match against Goldberg.

Thoughts: It was great when Heyman talked about the legacies of different superstars. I knew a rematch between Lesnar and Goldberg was going to happen at Wrestlemania.

Sasha Banks VS Nia Jax
Jax thrown Banks’s injured knee to the steel post twice. At the end, Jax applied a leg submission move on Banks. The bell rang – even though Banks did not tap. Jax hooked the submission move again. Bayley came out, and Jax released the hold.

Thoughts: As much as I am a fan of Sasha Banks, I enjoyed watching Nia Jax being dominant in her matches. This is definitely making her strong in the Women’s division. It was great that Banks showed some courage in this feud, and I am glad that we did not see her tap out at all.

Tornado Tag Match
Rusev and Jinder Mahal VS Enzo Amore and Big Cass
In the beginning, Rusev and Big Cass were facing off while Jinder Mahal and Enzo went at it. For a while, Jinder and Rusev were in control. At the end, Enzo performed a leap frog splash onto Jinder for the win.

Thoughts: I thought the match was good. It could have been a little better. Great victory for the team of Enzo and Big Cass. This may be the end of the feud between both teams but we’ll see.

Parking lot – Limo pulled in, and it was Triple H.

Triple H came out. He told the story of how he created Seth Rollins and was later betrayed by him when Rollins was injured and had to give up the title. He called Seth Rollins out. As Rollins was making his way to the ring, Samoa Joe made a surprised attack at ringside. Triple H headed to the back as Samoa Joe was manhandling Rollins in the ring.

Thoughts: This was a true shocker because many of us thought that we were going to see a fight between Rollins and Triple H – but Samoa Joe came out of nowhere. It was great to see Samoa Joe on Raw. I was not a fan of watching Seth Rollins getting beat up the way that he did but I will say that this was the best moment on Raw. Why? Samoa Joe made a surprised appearance and a huge impact on the show. With the recent events on Raw, there may be a possibility of a Shield reunion in the future. Maybe it is wishful thinking on my part but let us think about it. Rollins and Reigns occasionally have teamed up recently. Reigns lost in the Universal Title Match at Royal Rumble because of Braun Strowman – so looks like these two have a feud going. Triple H (and Stephanie) repeatedly screwed Rollins. Now that Samoa Joe is in the picture, Rollins has another enemy to deal with. It looks like Triple H is very close to getting back in the ring, and I am sure that it will happen at least by Wrestlemania. In my opinion, Triple H, Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman make a powerful faction. If those three do team up, then Rollins and Reigns would be outnumbered. How would The Shield be reunited if Dean Ambrose is on Smackdown? May seem impossible for now but stipulations do occur on these shows. Like if they were to have a Dean Ambrose VS Dolph Ziggler match for the Intercontinental Title and loser gets to be traded to Raw or something crazy like that. You just never know. Anyway, this week’s episode of Raw was great. I enjoyed Samoa Joe’s surprised appearance, of course. I am really excited about this new feud with Rollins.

- Lisa “The Poet” Williams

Category: Wrestling.

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