By Big Red Machine
From March 05, 2017
Even though she is on Smackdown, Renee Young is hosting the kick-off show panel for this Raw PPV. Meanwhile, Charly Caruso has replaced Tom Phillips in the social media lounge. Because he either doesn't read the internet or is just a huge dick, Booker T specifically points out that this is Tom Philips' usual job but he isn't doing it anymore. Charly merely says that Tom has agreed to "hand off the reigns" to her for now, likely so he can free his hands up to grab the back of someone's head.
RICH SWANN & AKIRA TOWAZA vs. BRIAN KENDRICK & NOAM DAR (w/Alicia Fox) - 6.25/10
Good match, but I'm not sure what it accomplishes here to have the babyfaces win and Tozawa lay out Kendrick. Maybe if Tozawa had gotten the pin you could say that he has proven that he doesn't need Kendrick's mentorship or something like that, but Swann got the pin so that's not the case.
SAMOA JOE vs. SAMI ZAYN - 7/10
Sami's a great babyface, Joe is a mean heel. They will almost always have great matches together.
CHARLY CARUSO INTERVIEWS BAYLEY - good promo.Bayley challenges Charlotte to leave Dana in the locker room so they can have a one-on-one match. Nia Jax then showed up and said she was going to destroy Sasha tonight and then take the title from Bayley.
WWE RAW TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson(c) vs. Colin Cassady & Enzo Amore - 5.75/10
Not much to say here. Enzo was the babyface in peril. He and Cass got a few good false finishes in before losing. Enzo had his foot on the rope very briefly but Gallows knocked it off so the referee didn't see.
FOLEY & STEPH SEGMENT - apparently Steph not being here is going to be important. She wants there to be no "hitches" in either big singles title matches. She says that she will stay on the phone for the whole show. Oh goody. More of these. Shoot me now.
SASHA BANKS vs. NIA JAX - 6.5/10
This wasn't a carry-job by Sasha. Nia definitely held her own here. The story of the match was Nia working over Sasha's back, and they kept on target the whole time. Sasha eventually picked up the win with a roll-up to protect Nia a bit.
JINDER MAHAL vs. RUSEV (w/Lana) - no rating.
They set this up via pre-show segment, because it's not like they had six weeks of TV in which they could have set this up. Hopefully this leads to the long-awaited Rusev babyface turn. Wait... no. Never mind. We're getting a much less interesting match with Jinder facing one half of Cesarmus instead. BOO!
CESARO (w/Sheamus) vs. JINDER MAHAL - 5.5/10
This wasn't bad or anything, but all of a sudden we had a Raw match in the middle of a PPV in which a it took Cesaro forever plus a distraction in order to beat a glorified jobber. Rusev beat Jinder up after the match. Then the guy he is apparently facing tonight came out and we got...
BIG SHOW vs. RUSEV (w/Lana) - 2/10
Cole is trying to convince us that winning this match is crucial if one of these men want to get booked at WrestleMania, as if they don't have the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale that only seems to exist to ensure that everyone does get to be on the show no matter what.
Big Show pretty much destroyed Big Show, hitting him three chokeslams and then hitting the WMD. He came off like a heel imposing his will on a clearly beaten opponent simply because he could.
KEVIN OWENS PROMO - awesome.
AUSTIN ARIES' "BEAUTIFUL [VIDEO] PACKAGE" - they do realize that this is a f*cking PPV, right?
WWE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Neville(c) vs. Jack Gallagher - 8/10
This was one hell of a match. Gallagher shows his ability to not be a clown, and Neville really turned it up a notch.
CHARLY CARUSO INTERVIEWS PAUL HEYMAN - we get a tease that Brock will be here tonight. Heyman's promo was good.
NEW DAY SHOW UP WITH ICE CREAM - that's all that happened. They showed up with an ice cream cart, and then told us they would be the hosts of WrestleMania, which we already knew. They wasted five whole minutes of time ON A PPV with this sh*t. F*ck this company.
ROMAN REIGNS vs. BRAUN STROWMAN - 7.25/10
Really good big man vs. smaller man fight. Poor Strowman looked legitimately nervous up there on the top rope.
FOLEY & JOE BACKSTAGE - Foley warns Joe to not get involved in the main event.
WWE WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH:
Bayley(c) vs. Charlotte Flair - 6.75/10
Charlotte sends Dana to the back in accordance with Bayley's challenge earlier. This was a good match that was brought down by overbooking. Charlotte was dominating the match completely cleanly until Sasha showed up to interfere. You know. Just like Dana Brooke did for Charlotte all of those times. Once again let me remind you that Dana and Charlotte are heels. Bayley comes out of this looking like either a heel or an idiot for not acknowledging how much Sasha has helped her illegally, Sasha comes out of this looking like a legit heel, nothing comes of Charlotte's PPV streak which they have been behind over backwards for for so long because of the heelish way it was broken, and I come out of this completely sympathetic to the plight of Charlotte, who got screwed out of the title because the babyface's friend interfered after Charlotte accepted the babyface's challenge and left her friend in the back. Once again Charlotte is supposed to be the heel.
That sign that said "Goldberg ate a bowl of nails for breakfast. Without any milk." Has got to be one of my all-time favorites. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from here.
WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE MATCH:
Kevin Owens(c) vs. Goldberg- DUD!
So they stalled forever. Then Jericho showed up to distract Owens. Only THEN did the bell ring, making it feel like the timekeeper was purposely trying to screw Owens. Goldberg hit his Goldberg stuff and won. Jericho didn't attack Owens or anything. He just cost him his title and apparently that's enough revenge for savagely assaulting him during what was supposed to be a celebration of their friendship. In summary, we got a f*ck finish squash match in a PPV main event which results in the Universal Title match at WrestleMania being a match between two part-timers with a finish that isn't at all in doubt, that doesn't even need the belt to draw anyway. Good job, WWE!
This was a poorly-booked mess of a PPV that often felt more like an episode of Raw than it did like a PPV. It was one of those shows that reminds you why you shouldn't have any faith in WWE Creative.