Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 3/6/17: Reclaim The Yard
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.
Reclaim The Yard
– The opening video recapped WWE Universal Champion Goldberg’s defeat over Kevin Owens at Fastlane the night before that lasted just longer than a National Basketball Association shot clock. WWE United States Champion Chris Jericho – once Owens’ best friend that was betrayed mercilessly weeks prior – cost him the belt that he at one point helped him keep countless times. He did that with his simple presence on the ramp, which deterred Owens from his “mind games” strategy of repeatedly stalling for time. We hoped they’d work in actual footage of Jericho helping Owens time in and time out (Dammit, WWE Network, there’s an archive waiting to be used) but they did give us the line from Commentator Michael Cole, so we guess we’ll settle for that. On the other side of the WrestleMania 33 spectrum, this sets up an inevitable Universal Championship match between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar, just what their third match in history needs.
– For the record, we’re also in Chicago. Lively crowd as always. The opening in-ring segment with Jericho, Owens, Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe was the followup we needed to progress Jericho-Owens. Jericho started off and was seemingly in “Showman Y2J” mode, which was fine for us considering the feud he’s in now. He also tied in Chicago as the birthplace of Y2J and thus, his resurrection. It made perfect sense for him to want to call Owens out, but we didn’t expect KO to comply. Never mind that. Jericho got worked up enough to almost utter “son of a bitch,” but stopped himself, which drew a gasp from the crowd. Owens admitted he used Jericho from advice given to him by Triple H to do what he had to do to keep his Title. This painted Owens in a more sociopathic light and casted more sympathy on Jericho, so it works for both guys. Owens saw the turning point from Jericho being a “gullible tool to needing to be eliminated” was accepting Goldberg’s challenge on his behalf. Doesn’t Owens still get a rematch regardless? At least he also tied his justification into being a family man. The “Friends Of Jericho” line killed ’em. Jericho threw down the challenge, as we almost forgot he had his belt. Owens requested the belt be on the line and Jericho complied before he challenged Owens to come fight him. We liked that Owens actually was eager to go down there and they traded fists briefly. Samoa Joe was in the scuffle, which drew out Sami Zayn to play “the equalizer.” We liked this because it obviously set up a tag team encounter. Maybe the Zayn-Joe feud continues? Or… apparently not.
– The Zayn-Owens match with Joe/Jericho barred from ringside disappointed us slightly. So much for the “last time ever.” Works for the Chi-Towners though. Zayn executed a nice tope con hilo, but this bout didn’t exactly light the world on fire. There goes two pop-up powerbombs as Owens defeated Zayn in the most decisive fashion to date.
– The WWE Cruiserweight Championship match between Champion Neville and Rich Swann with Austin Aries on commentary had us wondering how Swann got the shot to begin with so quickly. We also got another look at Aries’ great package. We then learned this was Swann’s contractually obligated rematch, we even forgot he never had it yet. Of course, a CM Punk chant broke out before the bell rang. Swann started off hot before a couple of awkward tumbles headfirst into the LED apron screen stopped his momentum. The crowd chanted for Aries. Swann did a cool senton to the floor. They coined it a “Swann-ton.” Get it? Sigh. Swann hit a Michinoku Driver for two. Neville landed the superplex, but Swann rolled out of the ring before he could get pinned. Smart psychology. The first chance, Swann struck a stiff kick to the head for another close near-fall. Damn Neville, if you keep having matches like these, be Champion forever. Another stiff kick to Neville knocked him to the mat, so he went up top and attempted a Phoenix splash to come up empty. Neville locked in a pinfall attempt, but Swann kicked out at two. Neville transitioned into the Rings Of Saturn submission to make Swann tap and retain. That was way better than we figured it’d be. Post-match, Aries hit the ring and asked Neville how it felt to be on top. Crowd chanted for Aries, which he used to further upset Neville when they chanted “What” too. Neville screaming that nobody could compete with him and that Aries was just a “commentator” genuinely led to Aries losing his cool and smashing him in the face with the microphone. It was set up brilliantly and easily gave us Neville’s next challenger and Aries’ in-ring return. Two birds, one stone. With that, Aries was hyped to deliver a message to the Champ on 205 Live. This is the week of the Cruiserweights.
– Backstage, Enzo Amore/Big Cass stumbled upon Sheamus/Cesaro. Enzo regarded them as “haters” like he likes to do. Cesaro was deeply involved in a cup of coffee in his hand that made him look like a Starbucks corporate worker. Cass took exception to Sheamus because he can. SheaSaro picked on them for “choking” at Fastlane, which led to Enzo bringing up Cesaro’s loss to Samoa Joe last week. We will assume these two teams will fight each other in the near future.
– WWE Universal Champion Goldberg’s music hit. Let’s say Chicago was more split down the middle. He responded to rampant CM Punk chants by bobbing his head along to them like a doofus. Paul Heyman couldn’t come at a better time. The twist here was that he had Lesnar with him and provided the best narration to another face-to-face. The highlight of Heyman’s was obviously “Brock’s Bitch,” which led directly to the thunderous F5 that drew a huge pop. Awesome.
– Enzo/Cass came out and did their schtick. They related their promo to Michael Jordan of course. Out came WWE Raw Tag Team Champions Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson as apparently the belts were on the line again. Meanwhile, Commentary argued over the “scandal” at Fastlane. SheSaro came down to the ring to spectate. They’re probably the only people on Earth invested in this match. Cesaro still had his coffee cup. This whole match is kind of eh. Enzo did a suicide dive on Gallows that saw him overshoot it and collide with the barricade. While he got up, he bumped into Cesaro and spilled his coffee. Like an angry white woman would if you spilled her coffee, Cesaro hit the ring and aimed for Enzo, but struck Anderson instead. It was all going to end the match regardless, so the crowd booed. All three teams got in a scuffle and it ended as Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Enzo.
– The latest WWE Hall Of Fame Inductee was “Ravishing” Rick Rude. About time. We could’ve sworn he was in there already. Ah well. If anybody deserves it, it’s him. He was what we’d call the “Total Package” in terms of character development back then. Of course, now all we picture is Ring Of Honor’s Silas Young and that scares us.
– Backstage, General Manager Mick Foley stopped SheaSaro and Team SAWFT from tearing each other apart. He booked them to fight each other next week where the winners would face Gallows/Anderson at Mania. Afterwards, Commissioner Stephanie McMahon demanded he follow her to her office. Uh oh.
– The Akira Tozawa-Ariya Daivari match didn’t have Aries on commentary, but they did that to sell the previous angle. The Brian Kendrick should be involved in some capacity we imagine. Tozawa got the win quickly with the bridged snap German suplex. Post-match, Tozawa begged Kendrick to come and fight him. Actually not bad English. Kendrick came out (first with the main roster red graphic before they switched it to purple for Cruiserweights, segregation, tsk tsk tsk) and hyped 205 Live for an official answer because there was another “lesson” in store. Hey, progression is key and we got that here.
– Out came The New Day, as they cut to a young boy doing a pelvic thrust to ND’s music. There was a nearby older woman who looked horrified. That was unintentionally hilarious. They brought out the ice cream cart again, even though we’ve yet to see any actual ice cream bars come out of it. They said the awful tag line – “A mouthful of magic, I gotta have it” and we just knew we were trapped in Third Hour Land. Oh, and The Shining Stars were already in the ring. They were supposed to get their buns sliced or something like that, according to ND’s pre-match promo. We don’t really know nor care. The Midnight End (or whatever their finisher is called) ended things. Forgettable squash. They’re hosts of Mania and sell ice cream that we still haven’t seen. It’s going to be a long month for ND fans.
– Foley introduced WWE Raw Women’s Champion Bayley. Still feeling the fatigue. Still some controversy around the Women’s Division since Bayley told Charlotte at Fastlane to keep her friend backstage and retained solely because her friend Sasha Banks interfered on her behalf. Bayley having guilty over her recent wins is more in line with how she should react. The Mania talk was also good for her character since it shows what she considers most important – her succeeded goal. Banks came out, as we imagine she’d try to spin this her way to get a Title shot at Mania. Sure enough, she threw down the challenge. Charlotte/Dana Brooke came out afterwards. Charlotte spoke about how Banks manipulated everyone and used Bayley to get her shot when she knew she wouldn’t get one if she was still Champ. Steph came out next, which we imagine Foley can’t be happy about. The Punk chants were loudest they’d been all night. She mentioned him by name and used it as a way to call all Chicagoans losers. Classic Steph. Anyways, Commish believed that Charlotte deserved the Title match at Mania and she was above Foley, so discussion over. Foley proposed that Banks-Charlotte next week where the winner would face Bayley. Instead, Steph booked Banks-Bayley and if Banks won, she’d make the Mania match between Charlotte and Bayley a Triple-Threat. Nice.
– The Bayley-Banks match with Charlotte on commentary where if Banks won, she’d join the Mania Title match was in a different place in 2017 than 2015. They worked hard in the ring, but it just lacked the emotion and intensity of their past classics. Things did get better, but just then, Charlotte/Brooke got closer to the ring. Brooke got on the apron as Banks applied the Bank Statement. Charlotte pushed Banks back, but it didn’t break the hold. It actually pushed it to the middle of the ring where Bayley had no choice but to submit. You guys even fail at interfering. Sigh. Post-match, Charlotte laid out Banks and held up the belt.
– Backstage, Roman Reigns was asked about Braun Strowman’s promise to “finish what he started” at Fastlane. Didn’t he lose? How do you continue a match you lost? Anyways, Reigns invited him to the ring when the show is almost finished.
– They showed a video package that chronicled Seth Rollins’ three times daily recovery process to get to Mania. If anything, it did show his toughness?
– The Satellite interview with Triple H reacted to the video package. He put over the health experts for what they do for the talent and then related it to Rollins not listening to their advice. Another strong point he brought up was that he was given nicknames in his active wrestling days and didn’t christen himself “The Man.” He drove it home with the threat for Rollins to not come to Mania. Better progression on Trips’ side.
– We got a hype video of Emma, set to return from Emmalina. Couldn’t that had just been the case weeks ago? All this lost time. Sigh.
– The Joe-Jericho match was impactful, but way shorter than it deserved to be. Joe laid in the Coquina Clutch, where Jericho faded away unconscious. Here we thought Joe was going to settle for a double countout to keep the hold on Jericho to protect the US Champ, but he rolled in the ring around eight and clocked in the countout victory. Does that mean he gets a US Title shot? Post-match, Joe went for more, but was left shambled with a Codebreaker. Weird booking, but okay.
– Strowman came out with a determined face as he called out Reigns. He used Chicago not liking him to convince him to come out. Reign’s music plays briefly. Oh crap. We got The Undertaker’s gong instead. Huge pop. This was an awesome face-off. They’re literally the same height. Strowman actually backed away as Reigns’ music hit again. He got in Taker’s face and claimed “With all due respect, this is my yard now.” Boos as one could imagine. They both looked at the Mania sign together before Taker nailed a chokeslam. The crowd did the “Yes!” chant in response to close out. That’s a lock now? Huge angle to top off a newsworthy night. Raw needed an episode like this in a long time, third hour filler aside.
- Chris Jericho/Samoa Joe Barred From Ringside – Kevin Owens def. Sami Zayn via pinfall
- WWE Cruiserweight Championship – Neville (Champion) def. Rich Swann via submission to retain
- WWE Raw Tag Team Championship – Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson (Champions) def. Enzo Amore/Big Cass via DQ to retain
- Akira Tozawa def. Ariya Daivari via pinfall
- Big E/Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) def. The Shining Stars via pinfall
- If Sasha Banks Wins, She Makes The WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match At WrestleMania A Triple-Threat – Sasha Banks def. Bayley via submission
- Samoa Joe def. Chris Jericho via countout
Posted on February 12, 2018, in WWE and tagged Akira Tozawa, Ariya Daivari, Austin Aries, Bayley, Big Cass, Big E, Brock Lesnar, Byron Saxton, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Corey Graves, Dana Brooke, Enzo Amore, Goldberg, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Neville, Paul Heyman, Rich Swann, Rick Rude, Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe, Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, The Brian Kendrick, The Shining Stars, Triple H, WrestleMania 34, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.