1) Trim the Fat ? Near the start of the show, Stephanie McMahon felt it was necessary for Mick Foley to work on his General Managing skills and would have him do so by firing one person by the end of the night. Mick wasn’t exactly thrilled that he would have to cut someone so close to WrestleMania, but the choice wasn’t his. As we went through the night, Mick was having a difficult time making a decision; Stephanie seemed to be really enjoying Mick’s struggles, and this all led to a wonderful finish that we’ll get to in a minute.
2) Finally! ? It was really beyond strange why Dana continued to stick with Charlotte, despite being treated like complete garbage for so long, well, that changed last night. Yeah, she lost in a quick squash to Sasha Banks (to a roll-up, no less), but the point of that segment was to finally separate Dana away from Charlotte, so the squash will be pretty much forgotten about. The break-up was long overdue and at this point, Dana was basically being laughed at by fans every week, so a changed was really needed. I don’t expect her to exactly shoot up the rankings with this flip, but at least it gives her something different to work with as she still needs to improve quite a bit in the ring. Maybe get her managing someone?
3) Tag Match ? I’m not one of those who say Cruiserweights are the new “bathroom break,” but I’m still fully against tag matches on Raw. Live crowds almost never get into them and they just slow down whatever momentum the show has going. This particular match ended with Tony Nese getting a win over TJ Perkins and literally nobody cared. It’s nice to throw Nese a bone though, I guess? Raw should stick to just CW title matches or promo segments between the most popular guys, leave random tag matches to 205 Live. Plus, we got two other tag bouts later in the night, making this match style a bit overused on the night.
4) Suspect Decision Making ? Okay, Anderson and Gallows want some attention, that’s all well and good, they sure picked a weird time to show up though. Tactically, wouldn’t they want to go up against only one team at WrestleMania? Now that they’ve delayed that decision, Foley simply made it a triple threat, making things even more difficult on Anderson and Gallows, very dumb move on the champion’s part. Between this and getting trounced by Reigns a few times, can’t really say I’ve been into their title run.
5) The Heartbreak Dog ? After dismantling Jinder “He must workout” Mahal, Reigns looked to the back and demanded Undertaker face him “Like a man.” Just a reminder, Braun said the same thing to Reigns last week, Vince must be hooked on that phrase at the moment. I fully expected Braun to come out and instead we got HBK? Michaels came out to provide some veteran wisdom that Undertaker would eat Roman alive in their upcoming match. Reigns honestly couldn’t give a damn what Michaels had to say, and pretty much ignored what the Hall of Famer’s advice. The big ending came when Braun Strowman came out from the back like a runaway train and blew Reigns right back down (and off) the ramp, it looked so good WWE showed it at least four more times. The two will have a rematch next week, where I’m sure Undertaker will get involved.
Kevin Owens ? An angry, vengeful KO, is the best KO. I feel like some wrestlers make for better champions, and others make for better challengers. In the case of Owens, I very much like him chasing after something with that gritty attitude of “I’ll do anything to make your life miserable” towards his target. Really great promo by the former champion as he eventually led into the introduction of his tag partner, Samoa Joe. Clearly, a group is forming here; I can’t wait to see how things shake out, and if anyone else joins the group (aside from Triple H). The tag match against Jericho and Zayn very much sold both him and Joe as a dominate group that should not be trifled with going forward.
Sasha Banks ? I miss NXT Sasha Banks, even her time in Team BAD wasn’t quite as vicious as I once remembered her, making little girls cry and trying to crush Bayley’s fingers, yeah, that needs to return. As the weeks have passed by, we are starting to see a little more of that evil side coming out of her. Nothing obvious (yet), but she is not quite as chummy sounding as before with her eyes now more focused on the prize. This week she tried to throw some doubt into Bayley’s head by casually saying “Don’t listen to the haters” before her match against Nia Jax, even though Bayley has defeated Nia previously. As much fun as it is to see these two as friends, it’s way better when they are bitter enemies.
TJ Perkins ? From Cruiserweight champion to getting pinned (rolled-up) by Tony Nese, not much more needs to be said.
Titus O’Neil ? “I…I love the Jetsons!” Titus seems like a really, really, great person, but he is not meant for this Universe. Later in the night, he went out and got completely wrecked by Big Show. WWE has literally tried everything with this guy and it just doesn’t seem to be working, not even hating at this point, just being honest.
This Week’s MVP
Triple H ? That entire last segment was so good! Aside from Mick Foley trying to fire Stephanie, I get he was trying to make a point, but that was kind of dumb, Mick, she’s your boss. It was mainly meant as a reason for The H’s of Three (as Matt Hardy likes to call him) to come out and complete shred poor Mick. Did Triple H really dump on Foley’s tour? Ouch. His bad ear? Come on! This segment was an absolute roller coaster with Foley getting his moment against Steph, then beaten down by Triple H, then using the mandible claw as a final stand! Right? I mean, they won’t allow him to continue on as GM after that defiant decision.
That was just the first act though, the second started when Rollins hobbled down like Willy Wonka, suddenly tossed away his crutch, revealed his “Kingslayer” shirt (Game of Thrones, how you doin’?) and went to war. Triple H initially got put down, although the crutch was used to his advantage as he focused hard on Rollins knee. Some may hate that Triple H was standing tall as Raw ended, but you all know he’ll put Rollins over when the big show (not the wrestler) comes around, I think…Really appreciated all the layers that Triple H showed in this segment; I hated him, I loved seeing him get destroyed, and I despised seeing him make a comeback. This is the feud for WrestleMania 33, this is what we all should be excited for, and it sure seems like we are going to get it with how much Rollins did in the ring last night.
The show lagged pretty hard for me for most of the three hours, a lot of attention went to Foley, Steph, and Triple H, so I could see some people really not enjoying this week’s show. Dana’s turn, Kevin Owens promo, and Braun bowling over Reigns were all notable moments among a lot of mediocre segments. Also, slightly bummed Big Show isn’t getting Shaq and was relegated to the Andre Battle Royal, which he is not going to win again. Paul talked, Brock stood, I’m kind of over those segments, so that’s all I have to say about that. Ending was truly amazing though, initially had this show at a 5, but that finish bumped it to a 6.
Grade (out of 10): 6 (Last Week: 7)