Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 2/6/17: Wild Samoans
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
– One week after Samoa Joe’s riveting debut that involved a sideline beatdown of Seth Rollins, it was probably no secret that the angle would be the focus to open the show. It’s funny how the Rollins-Triple H storyline mulls along through the months, but with big happenings, it heats up. At this time, Rollins was likely to miss WrestleMania, which actually put more heat on Joe and rather than ignore that, they used it to their advantage. The opening video delved into all that, with sleek editing that actually brought meaning to Trips’ promo on Rollins last week and set up the moment well for Joe to attack. We’ll guess Joe will be branded as “The Destroyer” from hereon out. The key as always is the followup.
– To start, we had General Manager Mick Foley/Commissioner Stephanie McMahon in the ring with a podium and contract in hand. Regarded as the “hottest free agent signing” by Steph, we could already see the frown on Foley’s face. They introduced Joe and he was in a suit. Oh snap. To the fans – chanting “You sold out” to a guy who was already a heel doesn’t make sense. However, there was something oddly pleasing about hearing Steph introduce Joe so enthusiastically. Could you picture this happening 10 years ago? Exactly. Steph also made sure to emasculate the GM some more before Joe finally spoke. He stressed that it took him 18 years to get here, three more than WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens’ to take note. Of course Joe would appreciate Trips getting him into WWE from the indies, which tied into good heat. It was also very “Joe” to want to threaten the entire roster. It also helps that he literally spent some time targeting random NXT talent. Oh god, here comes Roman Reigns or that other samoan named Joe. Didn’t make much sense for him to defend Rollins just yet, they never actually had a “makeup moment.” Thusly, it was hard to buy Reigns’ labeling of Rollins as a “friend over the years.” Really? The most key line of Reigns’ promo was him calling the ring “his yard,” a clear shot at The Undertaker, who he eliminated from the Royal Rumble. Here comes screaming Foley. We were surprised they’d give away the Joe-Reigns match so quickly for free, but it’s easy TV and they didn’t have to do much to set it up.
– Bayley made her entrance for a bout against Nia Jax, who lastly defeated Sasha Banks on the Royal Rumble Kick-Off Show. God, Byron Saxton makes everything suck. We cringe when he goes over-the-top during Bayley’s entrance. Who can make wacky, inflatable, arm-flaling tube men uncool? This guy. It was interesting that they had Bayley on camera joking around with Cesaro/Sheamus before she came to the ring. Granted, she teamed with them last week in a Six-Person Mixed Tag where she pinned WWE Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte, but it was an assumed one-and-done. Her pinning the Champ set up a rematch for next week. Wonder why they didn’t set it for Fastlane. Michael Cole mentioned how Jax held the highest record for every female competitor at the WWE Performance Center. See, now those are cool facts that add to somebody’s mystique. They also noted that Bayley once defeated Jax, though with Banks’ help. This was certainly one of their more physical encounters and were “in sync” here. The finish was also buyable as Charlotte ultimately cost Bayley the match despite her tumble in the ring. Our only critique would be that it was uncharacteristic for Bayley to want to beat anybody by countout over a pin. We won’t nit-pick though, as this built up the rematch for next week well and it stands out in a marquee way.
– Four people were in the ring as Braun Strowman came out. Guess who wants some squash? What are their names anyway? Let’s roll – TC Bonus, Rob Kelly, Dustin Wallace and James Stock. Nope, you won’t find those guys on the Pro Wrestling Illustrated 500 anytime soon. Commentary focused on Strowman’s actions against Reigns at RR only for Reigns to intervene and cost Strowman the Universal Title on last week’s show. How would Strowman fare against the SuperIndie Friends? It was entertaining. One guy even ran away. Funny. That was a suplex with style. Can this just last the whole show please? He pinned all three guys on top of each other as if they were human pancakes. Awesome. And we get a promo too? We expect it to be about Reigns. Oh, it was about the competition thing and now he wanted to find Foley. Yes. They got in each other’s faces backstage and Foley finally booked him to face Reigns at Fastlane.
– Sweet, we’re getting Akira Tozawa’s Raw debut. They showed a hype video with Cesaro as a legitimate source of his abilities. And it’s up next.
– Tozawa came out to battle against Drew Gulak. This music’s just weird for Tozawa. They’re mixing well in the ring though with a tendency for chops. Was that a headbutt suicide dive? Damn. Seems like he wants to make the “Ah!” thing catch on. The German suplex bridge was the finish. Brian Kendrick suddenly came up to Tozawa and introduced himself. It was so sudden that we almost forgot it. Is he now Dolph Ziggler circa 2009?
– Out came Owens and WWE United States Champion Chris Jericho, whom had a match with Sami Zayn later on with his belt on the line. Big “Y2J” chants as you’d expect. Leave it to Owens to mention that he proved people wrong as he “survived Strowman.” Jericho addressed the other “GOAT” Tom Brady and put him on the list. That got a bigger pop than anyone would believe. Jericho already proposed a match with him against Owens for WrestleMania 33, which Owens didn’t look too pleased, but he played along and tried to say he couldn’t fight his best friend. Jericho’s face when Goldberg’s music hit was legendary. He was advertised anyway to return to answer Brock Lesnar’s Mania challenge. Is it still good to smoke your own pyro? He officially accepted the challenge. KO used it as a chance to poke fun at Goldberg’s “undercard match” compared to the Battle Of Best Friends main event. Goldberg proposed a Fastlane match for Owens’ Title. Goldberg even took the List and put himself on it. Owens looked close to read it. Hilarious. So thanks to Jericho, it was made to be official. Owens wasn’t happy.
– Owens complained to Jericho about what just happened backstage. Jericho reminded him of all the sacrifices that he took and always had his back. Owens disagreed because he accepted a challenge from a maniac on his behalf. Hmm. Back to tensions again.
– The WWE Raw Tag Team Championship match between Champions Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson and Cesaro/Sheamus began as Enzo Amore/Big Cass were seated at ringside to supposedly challenge whoever won. That already made it sound like we’d get a Club-Enzo/Cass encounter for Fastlane. The match was physical at moments, but we were feeling the “This show is too damn long” exhaust already. Gallows kicked Enzo, which set up Cass to return one. That’ll cost SheaSaro. Maybe they’ll face off next week? What have Enzo/Cass exactly done to earn a Title shot anyway?
– Out came The New Day, who seem to have no direction after losing the belts. Oh, they didn’t show The Shining Stars already in the ring. ND’s promo sought to insult that fancy resort. At least they painted the trombone to add to the colors. Somebody was holding up a West Coast Wrestling Connection sign. Couldn’t make out who it was, but we cover them. Check out their last show before this Raw here. Kofi Kingston sat on the sidelines for this one. They mentioned ice cream now. New Day Pops? Ugh. They’re in Portland, which makes way more sense about that WCWC reference. This was a “go through the motions” tag team match, just something to fill the time. The Midnight Hour set off there ND victory party. Is this just a Battle Of The Salespersons? Ice Cream. Cereal and Brochures? Oh, my!
– Jericho cut a promo backstage about his problems with Owens and promised to defeat Zayn. He emphasized the Bestie conflicts as minor, to which Owens walked into the shot and admitted he was wrong. He promised Jericho he had his back. Guess things are patched up now?
– They announced the induction of The Rock N’ Roll Express to the WWE Hall Of Fame. Cool little package there. The latest thing they were involved with on TV was Total Nonstop Deletion. That was a ball. Check that out here. They were basically The Rockers before they were around.
– The WWE United States Championship match between Zayn and Champion Jericho built off Zayn’s pin on Jericho last week to earn this match. The plancha on Jericho was the first real highlight as the vibe echoed last week. They teased the Helluva Kick after the exploder in the corner again, but that led to the Walls Of Jericho escaped early. A Blue Thunder Bomb scored a two as always. Owens hit Zayn in the face, which led to a Codebreaker for Jericho to retain. This was formula Jeri-KO stuff.
– Banks had a bandage on her knee in the Trainer’s Room as Charlotte walked over and made fun of the sight. She put herself over and promised to put Bayley right next to her. She also dismissed Banks and her career after the Rumble. Such a confident Champion.
– Austin Aries stood in the ring and introduced WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville. They noted Rich Swann’s ankle injury. Aries hyped TJ Perkins, Tony Nese, Cedric Alexander, Noam Dar and Gentleman Jack Gallagher competing in a Fatal Five-Way Elimination match to earn a shot at Fastlane. Aries asking Neville who he was scared of most was funny. Cedric then came out, of course. They followed him with Dar, who made sure to say “Fox.” Jack was next. Yup, all the competitors are going to come out. Aries, “Here comes Tony Nese’s abs” line was hilarious. Perkins seemed cocky as he spoke about being the first Champion. He aimed right for Nese when the brawl began, which made sense as it tied to their recent feud. Gallagher came at Neville and they lit up the air with typical aerial spots which drew ooohs and ahhhs. It ended with Neville teasing a plancha and ultimately waiving it off because he’s evil or something.
– Another Emmalina hype video. This is still a thing? Next week? What?!?!
– The previous angle set up a Six-Man Tag between Neville/Nese/Dar and Perkins/Swann/Gallagher with Aries on commentary of course. The action mostly just followed recent storylines, as Dar/Neville butted heads again. Neville walked out on Dar again, which Nese took exception to. Funny. Alexander eventually pinned Dar with the Lumbar Check. Granted, that 205 main event sounds hot. Could fill the whole hour. Maybe the best match they’ve come up with yet.
– Jeri-KO spoke backstage, as Jericho proposed an event next week to show how great their bond was. A “Festival Of Friendship” as Raw would come from Las Vegas. Owens played it up and said he couldn’t wait. Oh lordy. Now we got the Women’s Title match and this Festival to look forward to.
– They showed an Elimination Chamber hype video with input from Edge, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, Jericho, Shawn Michaels and others, which was nice. Strange that this was on Raw and not on SmackDown, since it’s an SD Live Pay-Per-View event. That’ll be on Feb. 12 by the way.
– The Reigns-Joe main event started in classic Joe style, as he attacked Reigns on the way to the ring. They teased the bout not happening, though it eventually did as the bell rang. There were a few offensive spurts for Reigns, but it was mostly Joe. They built Reigns back up for a Superman Punch and teased a Spear, but Strowman came down. A Superman Punch knocked Strowman down, but he got caught in a uranage suplex to get pinned by Joe. Interesting there was no Muscle Buster. Joe wins, Reigns is protected and the Strowman-Reigns feud advances. Post-match, Strowman did a running powerslam on Reigns. He toyed around some more and used the steel steps on him. A running powerslam through the damn barricade closed the show. How about that?
- Nia Jax def. Bayley via pinfall
- Four-On-One Handicap Match – Braun Strowman def. TC Bonus, Rob Kelly, Dustin Wallace and James Stock via pinfall
- Akira Tozawa def. Drew Gulak via pinfall
- WWE Raw Tag Team Championships – Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson (Champions) def. Sheamus/Cesaro via DQ to retain
- Big E/Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) def. The Shining Stars via pinfall
- WWE United States Championship – Chris Jericho (Champion) (w/Kevin Owens) def. Sami Zayn via pinfall to retain
- Six-Man Tag – TJ Perkins/Gentleman Jack Gallagher/Cedric Alexander def. Tony Nese/Neville/Noam Dar via pinfall
- Samoa Joe def. Roman Reigns via pinfall
Posted on August 12, 2017, in WWE and tagged Akira Tozawa, Austin Aries, Bayley, Big Cass, Big E, Booker T, Braun Strowman, Byron Saxton, Cedric Alexander, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Corey Graves, Drew Gulak, Dustin Wallace, Edge, Elimination Chamber, Emmalina, Enzo Amore, Fastlane, Gentleman Jack Gallagher, Goldberg, James Stock, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Luke Gallows, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Neville, Nia Jax, Noam Dar, Rob Kelly, Rob Van Dam, Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe, Sasha Banks, Shawn Michaels, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, TC Bonus, The New Day, The Rock 'n' Roll Express, The Shining Stars, TJ Perkins, Tony Nese, WrestleMania 33, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.