Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 2/20/17: The Behemoths Collide
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.
The Behemoths Collide
– The opening video recapped WWE United States Champion Chris Jericho’s “Festival Of Friendship” that emanated from Las Vegas. To sum it up, it was a millennial rehash of “This Is Your Life” with a showbiz extravaganza theme to showcase Jericho’s appreciation for his best friend. They did a great job as they drove home the emotion and set up the moment perfectly when Jericho didn’t suspect an attack until it was too late. Loved the closeups on WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens’ sadistic expressions as he betrayed Jericho and was thus, friends no more.
– In the ring was Owens, with the lights down, seated in a chair, sole spotlight placed on him. Perfect. He was in a suit too, no less. The “Goldberg” chants started up as he expressed that he never “bought into that hype.” He mentioned that Goldberg beat Brock Lesnar because he was taken lightly and pointed out that he was different. We loved this approach. It made sense for him to want to look to outlast and outsmart him instead of outmuscle him. We wonder if the “Play the game” line was a Triple H reference. The “You’re Nothing” line was also key. It was about time he mentioned Jericho. Thought he was purposely going to ignore him. Wait, he did that as he dropped the mic after he said his name. Awesome.
– The WWE Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Match between Big Cass/Enzo Amore and Sheamus/Cesaro had some backstory since two weeks ago, Enzo/Cass cost SheaSaro the chance to regain their belts when Cass got involved as he protected Enzo. Typical Team SAWFT schtick before the bell. The winners would apparently challenge for the belts at Fastlane in two weeks. Did Commentator Michael Cole really call Sheamus “very athletic”? Sick spot where Cesaro hit an uppercut on Enzo as he dove for a hot tag from Cass. He broke out another top rope crossbody. Enzo stopped Cesaro before he could get the big swing , which left Cass free to hit the East River Crossing for the win. Pretty paint-by-numbers, but significant since it finally gives us an Enzo/Cass Title match. Post-match, Sheamus Brogue Kicked Enzo out cold when he bragged and he fell with his momentum. Nevertheless, there were some “Thank you, Sheamus” chants. Hmm.
– Backstage, Owens was on his way out when he was stopped by General Manager Mick Foley, who informed him he had a later match with Sami Zayn. Oh, that again. Owens mentioned a line that Foley needed to be careful because there’d be more people on the shelf than on the roster. He retained his toughness from earlier. Still though, so much for “Last Time Ever” for an Owens-Zayn match.
– We got a Braun Strowman hype video that sold itself really. Guess it was towards the main event with The Big Show? Apparently, the ring would be reinforced since it’d have to support nearly 800 pounds simultaneously. We don’t remember them reinforcing the ring for the Royal Rumble when they were both in there together. Call us conspiracy theorists.
– Backstage, Foley was on the phone when he was approached by Roman Reigns. Foley immediately brought up that Strowman was busy tonight and would be available after Fastlane, when he’d face him anyway. In walked WWE Raw Tag Team Champions Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows, who mentioned there was “unfinished business” between them. Foley suggested Reigns find a partner, but Reigns was insistent upon doing it himself. Well then. A cheap pop later and that was that.
– Out came Brian Kendrick, as Austin Aries sat in on commentary. This tied back to Akira Tozawa’s rejection to an offer to be Kendrick’s protege. We guess that built to a match, but we wish they would’ve saved it for an easy 205 Live main event. Thankfully, the bell never actually rang as this registered as more of a beatdown angle. Kendrick shoved him into the exposed steel by the ear and then laid in the Captain’s Hook. Now, that’s how you build to 205. They actually listened to us.
– Backstage, Kendrick was asked about his actions and expressed that nobody disrespected him. He mentioned his 17-year veteran status and that this was “the first of many lessons in respect.” We liked that line.
– The 2-On-1 Handicap Match between Gallows/Anderson and Reigns began as Cole screamed, “It’s time for the big dog.” Oh god, help us. Better yet, this was a repeat of last week with the same exact match. Will they actually follow through this time? So melodramatic here. Little life to this besides the dueling Reigns chants. The Champs brought a chair into the ring and Reigns ended up using it, which caused the disqualification. Why’d we have this match again? Gallows took a Superman Punch and Anderson took a spear as he came from the top rope. They sold it on commentary like it was the craziest thing ever. Yes, losing by DQ to the Tag Champs will definitely sell Reigns for Strowman. Rolls our eyes.
– The Rusev/Jinder Mahal-Kofi Kingston/Big E match began as New Day laid in their typical schtick, which sounded like PR jargon to get over them being this year’s “hosts” for WrestleMania 33. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Xavier Woods pimped his YouTube channel and upcoming appearance at the South By Southwest Music Festival. We also looked at his shirt and noticed it was video game friendly. For some reason, our minds went to how awesome a Woods/TJ Perkins tag team would be. Oh wait, the main roster and Cruiserweight Division are segregated. Erase that thought. Their promo related back to ice cream of course, because CM Punk. Apparently, Bo Dallas’ dastardly doings of tearing up their paper blueprint for an ice cream machine had no effect on their “photographic memories.” Now, they thought ahead and saved it on an iPad. Nope, not in a notes section. The actual picture of the blueprint just appeared on the screen. Eventually, Lana pulled out another iPad and revealed she “hacked” into their device to steal the photo and proved it as she name-dropped ingredients like “booty juice.” They actually left the “You know she’s Russian” line intact on the show, which was surprising. Anyways, blueprints for an ice cream machine is really the story behind this match. Sigh. Oh, WWE. Another logical point – if Woods was free outside, couldn’t he just try to wrestle the iPad away from her? We’re reading too much into this. Kingston executed a swift backwards plancha onto Rusev. Woods used Francesca III to scare the iPad out of her hands and promptly destroyed it. A Midnight Hour on Mahal ended things and we learned that everything is okay in the world as long as there’s still ways for ND to make booty juice-flavored ice cream. We think.
– They played a touching video package on the late George “The Animal” Steele, who arguably managed to become the first “unusual” wrestler to hit it big, especially in the 1980’s. Green tongues, hairy backs and tasty turnbuckles were all the rage back then. They also dove into his memorable feud with “Macho Man” Randy Savage over his mistreatment of Miss Elizabeth.
– The Contract Signing segment for the Fastlane Cruiserweight Championship match between Champion Neville and Gentleman Jack Gallagher with Aries as the mediator already looked the part as they came on screen. There were actually tea and biscuits in the ring. Gallagher led off the vocal quarrel as he referred to the yet non-present Neville as “delusional.” The Champ came out, briefly signed the contract and looked to immediately leave when Gallagher prompted him to stay a while. This is where a “Tea and Biscuits” chant began. Liked that they had Neville address criticisms that Gallagher was a walking British stereotype and didn’t adapt like he did. After watching the United Kingdom Championship Tournament, we’re all for the new British style. Gallagher responded that he was “raised this way” and wasn’t playing a gentleman. Neville flipped the whole table over, which shattered the tea glasses. Gallagher took him down and hit that wicked headbutt to drive Neville out of the ring. Good segment. He retained the momentum, as he used William III to keep Neville at bay.
– The Sarah Pierce-Nia Jax match was another Jax squash, easy to tell a mile away. A Samoan Drop was all that. Post-match, she was asked about last week’s Title controversy and she used it to complain she didn’t have her opportunity yet. She called the fans “sheep” too. Decent stuff.
– Out came WWE Raw Women’s Champion Bayley, who was hyped to address Charlotte’s demands of a relinquishment due to her “tainted victory.” Bayley hit the ring to “You deserve it” chants and her mentions of growing up in California got a decent reaction. They took the emotional route as she brought her father into it and even revealed he was there right now. He never appeared on camera though. Once she blamed Charlotte for her attempt to tarnish the best week of her life, Commissioner Stephanie McMahon’s music hit and everyone groaned because of what that could mean. Ever the manipulative woman, she used the context of Bayley’s words to claim that Sasha Banks helped her and she didn’t actually earn the belt and should give it back to retain her “good heart.” It was a great guilt trip actually. Bayley teased handing the belt over when Banks’ music hit and she argued she shouldn’t have to give up everything she worked for. Bayley again teased a handover, only to decide “Hell No.” How honorable. As Bayley bragged, “There’s nothing anyone can do about it,” all we thought was this – couldn’t Steph just strip her of the belt if she wanted to? Charlotte came down and made it known her rematch clause was being invoked at Fastlane. Banks told her to shut up and suggested they fight again in the ring. Steph made it official and for right then and there. We knew they couldn’t last more than two full months without fighting each other.
– The Banks-Charlotte match with Bayley on commentary was a “rivalry renewed.” They did some spots here and there, but nowhere close to their previous encounters. Dana Brooke again tried to help Charlotte out, but was thwarted by Bayley. With that, things mirrored last week as Charlotte tapped out to the Bank Statement.
– The next WWE Hall of Fame Inductee was introduced – Diamond Dallas Page, one of the more positive tried and true World Championship Wrestling legends.
– Backstage, Zayn was asked about his match with Owens and they smartly brought up that he once predicted that Jericho would get turned on months ago. He got over that he didn’t want to be right about this and took his anger and put it towards Samoa Joe, for the way he got away with things because of his relationship with Triple H. Good promo to hype things.
– The Owens-Zayn match was another “rivalry renewed” so to speak, but luckily, we got a Joe ambush as Zayn made his entrance. Another blindside. He sent him into the post three times and finished with a running senton. In true Zayn fashion, he protested he was okay and could wrestle, as he winced in the corner. Ever the opportunist, Owens took the chance to do two running charges, two cannonballs and a Pop-Up Powerbomb to beat his former friend. This was also another good way to keep Owens hot as Goldberg draws near.
– Backstage, Steph confronted Foley about where he was while Banks/Bayley embarrassed her. She cried “insubordination” and he flipped out on her for listening to her and now having Seth Rollins on the shelf. This was that, “Yes, Foley has balls now” moment we all waited for. Steph put in the last word with a petty warning to avoid accidents.
– Backstage, Cole sat down with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman to hype the Mania match with Goldberg. Cole didn’t last long, as Lesnar got in his face and chased him out of the chair, all for the purpose so he could sit in it and give us a hard, cold stare as Heyman spoke in the background, out of focus. It was an awesome visual and Heyman was on point again. Goldberg was hyped to appear next week, which makes sense for the go-home show.
– The Strowman-Show main event actually had the ring crew out as they reinforced the ring, during Strowman’s entrance no less. We were just amazed at how slim Show was. Strowman rolled through an armbar and then jumped to his feet after. Breaking out some WCW Cruiserweight circa 1997 ish. Strowman was painted as dominating the match after that. Show did a suplex to get momentum back. Next, he hit a flying tackle. A chokeslam was next for two. Show placed Strowman on the turnbuckle as the crowd rose to their feet, anticipating the ring to implode on impact. Strowman fought him off and leaped into a KO punch for a near-fall. Strowman hit the powerslam for two. Nobody kicked out of that before. No worries though, because he hit a second one to get the win. Post-match, Reigns came down and hit two Superman Punches to knock him into the corner. Strowman retaliated with a dropkick and a powerslam. Who better than Strowman?
- WWE Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Match – Enzo Amore/Big Cass def. Sheamus/Cesaro via pinfall
- 2-On-1 Handicap Match – Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows def. Roman Reigns via DQ
- Kofi Kingston/Big E (w/Xavier Woods) def. Rusev (w/Lana)/Jinder Mahal via pinfall
- Nia Jax def. Sarah Pierce via pinfall
- Sasha Banks def. Charlotte via submission
- Kevin Owens def. Sami Zayn via pinfall
- Braun Strowman def. The Big Show via pinfall
Posted on November 8, 2017, in WWE and tagged Akira Tozawa, Austin Aries, Bayley, Big Cass, Big E, Braun Strowman, Brian Kendrick, Brock Lesnar, Byron Saxton, Cesaro, Charlotte, Corey Graves, Diamond Dallas Page, Enzo Amore, Fastlane, Gentleman Jack Gallagher, George Steele, Jinder Mahal, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Lana, Luke Gallows, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Neville, Nia Jax, Paul Heyman, Raw, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe, Sarah Pierce, Sasha Banks, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, The Big Show, WrestleMania 33, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.