Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 3/13/17: Trim The Fat
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.
Trim The Fat
– The opening video showcased WWE Universal Champion Goldberg’s victory over Kevin Owens at Fastlane. They wasted no time to show Brock Lesnar’s interruption of his promo last week and subsequent face-to-face. All of this was to of course, hype their encounter for the Title at WrestleMania 33. As we remember, Lesnar stood tall at the end with an F5 while Paul Heyman provided the verbal bloodshed. Basically, the momentum shifted from Goldberg to Lesnar. Good time for this to happen with Mania in the wings.
– We were live from Detroit, as Lesnar’s music hit. Nothing like another talking segment to open up Raw. Commentary noted that Mania was 20 nights away. That’s closer than you think. There were actually some boos to greet the longtime duo before “Suplex City” chants somewhat took over. Gotta love Heyman on the mic for these things. We guess their focus will be on how Goldberg was laid out. “Goldberg-Eating Carnivore” should’ve been Lesnar’s new t-shirt tagline. “Goldberg” chants came about as Heyman looked mighty dismayed. Safe to say he handled those well. In the end, it was well-delivered rhetoric as per the usual, but no new developments in the feud besides Heyman’s inventive metaphors.
– In the General Manager’s office, General Manager Mick Foley shook his head before he was joined by Commissioner Stephanie McMahon, who noted the tension. Three weeks from Mania, she tried to convince him not to take things personally in a business mindset and saw it as her obligation to “nurture” him as a businessman. Foley uttered the words, “McMahon-Foley Connection.” Oh god. Her first “lesson” (who is she, The Brian Kendrick, now?) was to give him an assignment to fire someone by the end of the night. “Trim the fat” as she called it. Guess that’s a fine hook for these three hours. Wonder who’ll get the boot. Maybe it can be The Big Show and he can cry all over again. That’ll be riveting television. To no surprise, a “Fire Roman” chant broke out as we faded out. Ha.
– Sasha Banks came out to face Dana Brooke and had WWE Raw Women’s Champion Bayley at her side. Commentator Byron Saxton made a legendary blunder as he spoke about the Triple-Threat match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship at Mania in that “Bayley didn’t have to be in the match to lose her Title.” Eye roll. Charlotte was at Brooke’s corner. That was a bad double knees by Banks, as she tried to transition it into a pinfall attempt. A second rollup (with disputable rolled tights) got her the win easily. That was rather anticlimactic. Hey Foley – fire Dana! Charlotte got in the ring and called Brooke a disgrace. Apparently, Charlotte’s a better business person than Foley. Before that could advance further, Brooke attacked Charlotte. Face turn? The awkward 15 seconds where Charlotte wiggled from Brooke’s grip on the apron was redeemed with the image of a tough Brooke pose in the ring as the crowd chanted for her. Maybe they can finally push her now as the muscled superior athlete like they were in NXT. Let’s hope. Perhaps she’ll be a feud for Charlotte out of Mania?
– A hype video aired of the Warrior Award going to Eric LeGrand, a football player turned motivational speaker. Good package, as this is what the award should be for.
– Cruiserweight time, bring out the purple stuff! Ooh, tag action. Out came TJ Perkins with his video-gamey, dabtastic entrance. They hyped the Fatal Five-Way between Austin Aries, “The Premier Athlete” Tony Nese, Kendrick, Akira Tozawa and Perkins on tomorrow night’s 205 Live to determine the next challenger for WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville at Mania. Sounds like gold right now. Pekrin’s partner was Tozawa. They’d square off against Kendrick (not to be confused with A Bryan Kendrick) and Nese. The downside of Aries back in the ring is that Saxton is back on commentary for these things. Wouldn’t hurt to have somebody else in the division be on commentary to flavor it up some. Back to Saxton, who literally referred to the three-man booth as “three young stallions.” Cringe face. Tozawa appeared to pay homage to Aries with his missile suicide dive. Luckily, the division has been better lately so the downside should go to the wayside. Neville was shown watching backstage on that infamous monitor. More commentary blunders as Commentator Michael Cole referred to Perkins as the “Flim-Flam Flash.” Shaking our damn head. Rather fast action down the stretch. Perkins did this cool springboard DDT on Nese. Tozawa kicked Kendrick in the head off the apron for a grand total of two. Nese escaped with the win for his team as he pulled on Perkins’ tights. Smart finish as it gives Nese some clout for this Fatal Five-Way.
– Backstage, WWE Raw Tag Team Champions Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson were asked who they’d rather face at Mania – Enzo Amore/Big Cass or Sheamus/Cesaro. They took exception to that with the logical point that “Hey, we’re the Tag Champs, why are we being asked about other teams when the focus should be us?” and we can’t say we disagree. This was actually one of their better promos.
– The Owens/Samoa Joe-Chris Jericho/Sami Zayn match was a nice, unannounced surprise and a hook that compelled due to this being the first time since the “Festival Of Friendship” that Owens/Jericho would be in the ring together. Owens entered first and did the same “lone spotlight” promo bit that allowed him to lay more shade on his former “best friend” with the emotional justification that he “stabbed him in the back before he could stab me.” Very Owens-like way of thinking. Owens/Joe would actually be a killer tag team. Make it happen one day, Raw. For some weird reason, Cole used this match to bring up that this would be WWE’s last show in this arena because a new arena was being built. Owens kicked Jericho off the apron. Zayn did a tope con hilo on “Joe-Wens” and favored his knee afterwards, which became the new heel target. When they did a double beatdown and refused to stop, the Referee threw the match out. Jericho saved Zayn and we got that brief “Brawlin’ Canucks” moment with him/Owens. Jericho teased a Walls Of Jericho, but that was stopped by Joe. Ultimately, Jericho was again laid out with a Pop-Up Powerbomb. We liked this.
– Backstage, Steph offered Foley some help on who to fire and suggested Zayn “the under-performer.” Nia Jax came in and “demanded justice” because she wanted in on the Mania Three-Way. Steph booked her to face Bayley later, which satisfied her for some reason. They made no mention of this match affecting Mania in any way. With all the pressure, Foley wanted to take a walk to clear his head. Steph hilariously offered him some company. Those corporate mind games, man.
– In his walk, Foley came across Jinder Mahal, who angrily demanded he not be fired. He put himself over as a “main-event talent.” Ha. He asked for an opponent to showcase his skills and received it in the form of Roman Reigns. Well. He kind of deserved that one. Nobody would miss Mahal. Foley, fire him! There – that’s two so far.
– The New Day again relished in their Mania-hosting gig as they debuted a new talking segment entitled “New Day Talks.” Oh, yay. Sarcasm. The Big Show was introduced as their first guest. They stopped to introduce “sponsors,” aka New Day Pops. We guess this was a lighthearted attempt to put over that Jetsons crossover, but eh. We did like the ongoing punchline early on that ND was too hyped and kept interrupting Show as they answered their own questions before he could talk. Then came Titus O’Neil, who Xavier Woods told to “sashay away.” Bonus points for the RuPaul reference. O’Neil didn’t care about being on the show and used the chance to shove Show. That was… something that happened. Raw’s starting to come off the rails a little bit.
– The Enzo/Cass-Sheamus/Cesaro match to determine who faces Gallows/Anderson at Mania had one of the better Cass/Enzo promos that featured an actual coffee mug for the “cuppa haters.” They showed repeatedly as the Champs watched from backstage while the teams battled it out. Guess they were sick of it too because they attacked both teams and the match was thrown out.
– Backstage, the Champs were proud to have no opponents before an irate Foley booked them in a Triple-Threat match with both teams in. This was more of the “good” authoritative Foley a la “Commish” Days.
– The Mahal-Reigns was likely to be a quick squash before we would see Reigns’ response to being chokeslammed by The Undertaker last week. As Reigns laid waste, the gong went off to a big pop. This was what we envisioned. Mahal was put down with the Superman Punch, not even worth of the Spear. He then called out Taker and instead got Shawn Michaels. What?! In a good way. Maybe they can finally layer up this random encounter with emotion from the one guy who can supply it when it concerns Taker at Mania. We liked that Michaels called Reigns “unfocused” and would be “eaten alive.” Reigns gave his most heelish line to date as he told Michaels, “With all due respect, Taker retired you and I’m the guy who will retire him.” They could also chalk it up to confidence, bet let us live in our fantasy, dammit! Before that could all settle, Braun Strowman laid out Reigns with a wallop that sent him down the ramp. Their match was booked for next week in Brooklyn, which should be something.
– Steph was excited about recent developments and yet upset that Foley didn’t have a clue yet on what he’d do. She threatened to make the decision for him and it could be something he wouldn’t like. Is this their way of having him written off TV?
– The Aries-Ariya Daivari match served as Aries’ Raw in-ring debut. He was likely the favorite to win tomorrow night based on his recent history with Neville. Pretty standard match where he ran through his signature spots and won with the Roaring Elbow. Seems tame for a finisher and the crowd wasn’t as hot as they were last week, but we dig it.
– We got another hype video for “Evil Emma” who wants to prove nice girls finish last. That’s a comeback we can all get behind. However, it is rather alarming that we have seen more of Emma in video packages than real life lately.
– Here comes the throwaway portion of the show – Show against O’Neil. We knew Show would be in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale at Mania, so odds are he wins here to be put over for that. Just like we thought. The crowd was most excited between the second and third Chokeslams.
– Backstage, Bayley showed slight fear about the match with Jax, but Banks offered morale support. She brought up the idea of “haters that didn’t think she was Championship material.” Bayley seemed confused about that, since it felt like an excuse for Banks to indirectly criticize her.
– Backstage, Jericho used his catchphrase prowess to proclaim revenge. He wanted to show people the “True” Owens and hyped him as his guest on the Highlight Reel next week. Brooklyn should be lively for that. Fun hook, probably what we’re looking forward to the most. The bit where he added “Tom Phillips” was also well-done.
– The Bayley-Jax match had Mania implications, or so we thought. Alright action overall where Bayley fit in some offense, but was eventually subdued by Jax’s power. Jax was disqualified when she disobeyed Referee orders, so the beatdown only continued. Interestingly, Banks was nowhere to be found in all this. Coincidence?
– Steph came to the ring and introduced Foley, CM Punk chants and all. He came out and built the moment up as if it would be real and used it as a chance to say she should be the one to go. Of course, you can’t fire your own boss, so yeah. This was a great exchange though as things got quickly personal. Our alerts went up further once Triple H came out when Foley brought his name up. They drew major shade at each other (Trips for Foley not being business-worthy and a pathetic nostalgia act, while Foley pointed out that Trips delegated his ego to the future and had Joe as a makeshift henchmen) and it got even deeper once Trips brought up Foley’s kids in the WWE system and how that could all be taken away on their command. We did question how Trips/Steph didn’t hear the major pop once Foley went for Mr. Socko, but the moment was still cool. Steph gave him a low blow though. We guess this is the end of Foley on Raw? This then transitioned into the real focus – Rollins’ entrance. He came out and limped with the crutch before he dropped it and revealed a “Kingslayer” shirt as he showed he could go. That’s a winner for everybody, as Mania is now a definite happening. They traded fists and Trips was dropkicked out of the ring. Trips grabbed the crutch and reentered the ring, but was knocked down. Eventually, Rollins was attacked with his own crutch in the bad knee and the pain furthered when Trips put on a reverse Figure Four. Guess this is the “reality check” moment. We would’ve had it end at Rollins standing tall, but they could always have him get revenge next week in Brooklyn. Hot angle overall.
- Sasha Banks (w/Bayley) def. Dana Brooke (w/Charlotte) via pinfall
- “The Premier Athlete” Tony Nese/The Brian Kendrick def. TJ Perkins/Akira Tozawa via pinfall
- Sami Zayn/Chris Jericho def. Samoa Joe/Kevin Owens via DQ
- Winners Face Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson at WrestleMania 33 – Sheamus/Cesaro and Enzo Amore/Big Cass to a no-contest via outside interference
- Roman Reigns def. Jinder Mahal via pinfall
- Austin Aries def. Ariya Daivari via pinfall
- The Big Show def. Titus O’Neil via pinfall
- Bayley def. Nia Jax via DQ
Posted on May 19, 2018, in WWE and tagged 205 Live, Akira Tozawa, Ariya Daivari, Austin Aries, Bayley, Big Cass, Braun Strowman, Brock Lesnar, Byron Saxton, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Corey Graves, Dana Brooke, Emma, Enzo Amore, Eric LeGrand, Jinder Mahal, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Luke Gallows, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Neville, Nia Jax, Paul Heyman, Raw, Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe, Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Shawn Michaels, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, The Big Show, The Brian Kendrick, The New Day, Titus O'Neil, TJ Perkins, Tony Nese, Triple H, Warrior Award, WrestleMania 33. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.