Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 2/13/17: Festival Of Friendship
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.
Festival Of Friendship
– Raw was in Las Vegas, we had a big WWE Raw Women’s Championship rematch between Champion Charlotte and Bayley and above all else, a “Festival Of Friendship” WWE United States Champion Chris Jericho was throwing for WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens. Add up all the ingredients and figure out where it can possibly go wrong. Exactly. To start the show, out came Commissioner Stephanie McMahon, which meant we got the old-fashioned 20-minute talking promo. Vintage Raw. She “gave” General Manager Mick Foley “the week off” and emasculated him without his presence this time. She went for the classic hometown cheap pop. Lord. Here comes Roman Reigns. Just why? This “Big Dog” nickname sounds so forced and won’t ever catch on. He demanded Braun Strowman, even though he’s guaranteed to face him at Fastlane on Mar. 5., like bro, can’t you wait? Real world exercise – ask your boss for your vacation and then a month before it approaches, demand it right now. See how that works out for you. From Steph’s point of view, why on earth would she oblige? We’re reminded she’s a heel and gets the crowd worked up for the prospect of it happening and then does the “boss” thing and prevents it because “she cares.” Cue the boos. She does announce that Strowman would face Mark Henry later. That sounds nice. She’s the boss, so she threatened Reigns and teased taking away the FL match and subsequent WrestleMania bonus. Reigns only got more aggressive in his stance, which drew WWE Raw Tag Team Champions, Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson. This can’t be good. They sucked up to Steph and suggested a Handicap match. Why wouldn’t she? Anderson sported a Club shirt that had similar fonts to the classic Bullet Club tee. Oh, subtle copying. Cue a mini-“brawl” where Referees have to pull them apart before we go to break. Let’s get to the match portion of things. Not much to write here, as the “numbers game” ran the pace, though Reigns powered in some offense. For some reason, the Champs ignored requests from the Referee to not beatdown their single opponent and were disqualified. Meh. Reigns fought out of the Magic Killer and then walked away. The Tag Champs don’t look any stronger and neither did Reigns. What exactly was this supposed to be?
– The camera pans the crowd, which means The New Day was about to come out. They were over as hell, with “Who?” chants raining down before their promo could even begin. Ever the crowd players, Kofi Kingston worked it into their schtick. They ragged on Bo Dallas, already in the ring. ND’s new thing is apparently they’re going to make ice cream? We’re shocked they haven’t said “New…Day…Pops!” yet. Ugh. We see they’ve also got the stupid campaign sign still there. Commentator Corey Graves dismissed the whole ice cream idea because “vendors need to make a living.” Hilarious. Dallas had the manilla folder that held the ice cream plans and in a night of many heinous actions, he started the trend by ripping it in half. Kingston did a somersault plancha in revenge. Shouldn’t ND had written their plans on a Notes section on their iPhone or something? They actually gave Dallas a half-convincing near-fall before it all goes downhill. Kingston hit the SOS to get the pin. For a nice defeat treat, they poured Booty-O’s on him.
– Backstage, WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville was asked about Gentleman Jack Gallagher being the #1 Contender, something he fairly won last week as he outlasted four other men, check that out here. We’re actually surprised that wasn’t hyped on the FL card. Neville’s angry and there was more of that here. He mentioned that he’d take on TJ Perkins tomorrow on 205 Live before Gallagher walked into the frame. Besmirched, Neville called Gallagher a “boy not on his level.” Gallagher fit in an insult that seemed catered to the British. It all makes sense.
– Back from commercial and we heard Noam Dar’s music, as he stood with Alicia Fox in the ring. His opponent was Gallagher, oh, that guy. Ah, something different. Austin Aries blessed us with his commentary. Damn, everyone rips on Byron Saxton. They also repeated reminders that Gallagher’s the #1 Contender. That was one hell of a headbutt to the jaw. Running dropkick and that was it. Gallagher rolls on. Post-match, Neville came out and we had a stare down. “He looks like he’s in a good mood,” said Aries. Ha.
– A limo pulled up in the arena parking lot. So many emotions. Samoa Joe came out, which doesn’t sound like a Joe way to arrive to the arena. Triple H comes out from behind him. Oh, okay.
– Emmalina came onto our screens with the same vignettes we’ve been used to, only with the best twist ever – it was finally next.
– Her music hit, the same as the vignettes. She was in a glamorous dress, with a Penny from Big Bang Theory vibe going on. She acknowledged the 17 weeks we waited and stood there. She said there’d be another makeover from Emmalina to Emma. She then walked out. Right.
– Backstage, Bayley was approached about her first-ever main event Title match. She spoke of being “good nervous.” She played a great underdog proud of her predecessors, as she mentioned Lita winning her first Title against Steph in the main event slot. She also mentioned coming so close at the Rumble, but tonight was different. She’d achieve it. This was one of the first times we wanted to root for main roster Bayley.
– Backstage, Jericho hyped up the FOF for Owens and promised many surprises. He was decked out in a shiny gray jacket and top hat. In one of the earliest foreshadowing instances, Triple H walked up and wanted to talk, but only to Owens. Hmm.
– We got a glimpse of this “talk,” but the cameras didn’t pick up the audio at the worst time ever. The cameras are always on for other stuff and yet we can’t hear this one? Why bother showing it when we already knew they’d talk?
– The Strowman-Henry match was a pleasant surprise on paper. Strowman finally had an opponent he couldn’t just shove around and Henry stood his ground too. Strowman took control with a few rest holds until Henry fought back convincingly. Henry lifted Strowman up (an impressive feat alone), but couldn’t hold him. Strowman did a dropkick and then powerslammed the almost-400 pounder to win. These are the wins that he needs as FL draws closer. Post-match, out came Reigns, as Steph’s warning no longer applied. He hopped onto the apron, but was punched off. Strowman screamed at Reigns to come get him again. Take two for Reigns and he drove Strowman’s face into the ropes to set up two Superman Punches. A Spear attempt was turned into a Powerslam. Ha.
– Backstage, Bayley found her besties, Cesaro/Sheamus, as they prepared her for battle. Enzo Amore/Big Cass stood close by. Enzo did his thing where he screams nonsensical words and metaphors. Sheamus even flubbed his line as he attributed it to anger over being cost the Tag Titles by Team SAWFT. Cass defended Enzo and said he always had his partner’s back, as a shot to the old rivals. Cesaro stood up to Enzo, as Enzo put Cass in front of him. Think we’re getting an Enzo-Cesaro match? What on earth was that segment?
– Commentator Michael Cole disappeared from the booth for the live sit-down interview with Joe. What a gem this was to establish Joe’s character as a badass loyal to his allies. Or ally. He expressed he was “very dangerous” and was out to hurt people. Cole repeatedly brought up Triple H, which ticked Joe off. Joe went on to brag about beating “The Man,” “The Guy” and everyone else for 18 years before he got here. The best part of all was that he finally had the answer to critics who pointed out Triple H’s past proteges-turned-enemies – those guys needed Triple H’s help to get to where they were and he didn’t. Just excellent stuff all-around.
– Out came Sami Zayn, who was just described by Joe as “happy to be here.” That wasn’t the case before Survivor Series. Ayeee. Commentary luckily made the connection between Joe’s words and this guy. Zayn’s opponent was Rusev, who must’ve been inspired by Cody Rhodes and wore a face mask but referred to himself as “Handsome.” Can’t stay this is a match we ever hoped would happen. The main highlight early on was Zayn getting kicked in the face as he sprung up from the ropes. Good dynamic between the two. Rusev’s mask popped off for a moment before he put it back on. Rusev caught him with an enziguri, though his feet never left the ground. Rusev retained control as he entered the ring, stood at the corner and bam, Helluva Kick to end it all. Gusty win for Zayn, but where does it go from here? Rematch? Post-match, Zayn addressed his “step in the right direction.” He addressed Joe and said he was “no Sami Zayn” and wasn’t a sellout. Sounds like we have a FL match brewing from two segments alone. Zayn brought up Mania before Joe ambushed him from behind the announce table. He whipped Zayn into the LED screen and put him in a Coquina Clutch. We’re loving this. “You say my name, you put some respect on it,” said Joe. Awesome.
– At first announcement, we weren’t sure what to make of Teddy Long as the latest Hall Of Fame inductee, but seeing his extensive resume, we’re cool with that. Playa, Playa.
– Akira Tozawa made his entrance, as Aries was back at the booth, along with Brian Kendrick. Tozawa’s opponent was Ariya Daivari. Kendrick spoke highly of Tozawa, his self-perceived “protege.” For the first time ever, Kendrick spoke about being the first “Indy Darling” to be let in by the company in 2003. The storyline’s that Kendrick assumes he’s the mentor, but Tozawa never even acknowledges him once. It’s kind of brilliant actually. Tozawa did his screaming thing, the missile-esque suicide dive and the bridged German suplex to get the win. Of course, Kendrick took credit.
– The FOF was finally here, as the “61-Minute Man” introduced himself and went over-the-top with his expressions already. This is going to be great. Some showgirls came out as Jericho strutted out next in his showman attire. Owens came out looking like he wanted to laugh, but went along with things. In a throwback to “This Is Your Life,” Jericho unveiled some artsy gifts to his best friend – a $7,000 homoerotic Ralph Guggenheim sculpture and a spoof piece entitled “The Creation Of Kevin.” Next, he brought out Friendship The Magician, who did some tricks that Owens claimed a magic kit for his son did the exact same. That drew Friendship (off CraigsList) to be put on “The List.” Big pop. In a sudden twist, Jericho called out Goldberg, Owens’ FL opponent. Instead, Gillberg came out, before Owens annihilated him on the stage. Owens grew irate that Jericho would poke fun at a plan to ambush Goldberg. Jericho then poured his heart out to Owens that he made his last year one of his career’s best. Real emotional stuff that actually got the crowd to emphasize with Jericho. Owens remembered he had a gift himself and brought a box in the ring. It was a new List. It read “List Of KO” underneath, unbeknownst to Jericho until he asked why his name was on it and then saw. His eyes widened and the crowd gasped as Owens closed in on the attack. That was just perfect. Owens tore up the set, did the apron powerbomb and then threw Jericho’s face into the television monitor, which sent shards everywhere. A chilling homage to the infamous 2008 Highlight Reel Heel turn on Shawn Michaels. This was one of the best angles in Raw history. This will forever bee known as the “Festival Of Friendship Episode.” We’ll assume it was related to that talk with Triple H. He probably told Owens to get rid of Jericho and “drop the dead weight” to be taken seriously as Champion. The arena’s in a dead silence, which means it was strong work.
– Enzo dropped his mic onstage as he made his entrance, which was about right. Maybe a first. Enzo ran down Cesaro with some craft Swiss-related metaphors. He even carried marshmallows to drop upon a “Swiss Miss” reference. Can’t make this stuff up. This was what you’d expect from an Enzo-Cesaro match – not much. Enzo flopped around only to get manhandled at points. A pop-up European uppercut finished off Enzo. Post-match, Cass threatened physical retaliation, but held off. Lame.
– Backstage, Charlotte bumped into Sasha Banks and enjoyed her being on the sidelines watching her achieve success. She even claimed if she ran the show, she’d have Banks banned. Ouch. This set up a possible scenario where Banks could potentially interfere and cost Bayley the Title, though inadvertently. We’re all for that.
– The truck keeps on rolling and Strowman against The Big Show was hyped for next week. Well, damn.
– The WWE Raw Women’s Championship match between Bayley and Champions Charlotte certainly has a big mission as the main event. Had the feel early on, as they felt each other out, with neither getting the true advantage. Things began to get more aggressive on both ends. Charlotte did a moonsault off the barricade. Guess she watched her Zayn tapes. Things picked up as Charlotte drove chops and Bayley had her forearms. They then collided in a heap in the middle of the ring. Bayley did a slingshot DDT into the canvas. She did a Macho Man Elbow for the first buyable two-count. A top rope huracanrana by Bayley for two. Dana Brooke tried to interfere, but was run out of the ring by Bayley. Random. Bayley locked in the Figure Four, before Brooke raked her in the eyes out of the Referee’s view. Charlotte applied the Figure Eight. Banks ran down to attack Brooke with her crutch and then popped Charlotte in the boobs with it, also out of view of the Referee. Does this guy ever catch anything? With that, the crowd popped major and Bayley hit the Bayley-To-Belly to get the three-count. She finally did it. What a great moment, though questionable finish. It’ll probably lead to something at FL. Will this win get taken away or will it simply warrant the rematch? Either way, we’re stoked.
- 2-On-1 Handicap Match – Roman Reigns def. Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson via DQ
- Kofi Kingston (w/Big E, Xavier Woods) def. Bo Dallas via pinfall
- Gentleman Jack Gallagher def. Noam Dar (w/Alicia Fox) via pinfall
- Braun Strowman def. Mark Henry via pinfall
- Sami Zayn def. Rusev (w/Lana) via pinfall
- Akira Tozawa def. Ariya Daivari via pinfall
- Cesaro (w/Sheamus) def. Enzo Amore (w/Big Cass) via pinfall
- WWE Raw Women’s Championship – Bayley def. Charlotte (Champion) via pinfall to become new Champion
Posted on September 17, 2017, in WWE and tagged Akira Tozawa, Alicia Fox, Ariya Daivari, Austin Aries, Bayley, Big Cass, Big E, Bo Dallas, Braun Strowman, Brian Kendrick, Byron Saxton, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Corey Graves, Dana Brooke, Emmalina, Enzo Amore, Fastlane, Festival Of Friendship, Gentleman Jack Gallagher, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Lana, Luke Gallows, Mark Henry, Michael Cole, Neville, Noam Dar, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe, Sasha Banks, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, Teddy Long, The New Day, Triple H, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.