Monday Night RAW Recap — 20/2/17

Is there anything in the world remembered more fondly than the Attitude Era?

You would be hard pressed to find a wrestling fan who has a bad thing to say about wrestling’s supposed best era.

Even those who aren’t wrestling fans anymore will talk about how great of an era it is.

But the fact is the Attitude Era wasn’t actually all that great.

The stories were bleh, and the wrestling was almost non-existent, mostly being replaced by brawls and screwy finishes to every single match.

This week’s instalment of Monday Night RAW felt as if it was ripped straight from the Attitude Era.

The show was jam packed with no-contest finishes, squash matches and backstage segments, but just like the Attitude Era there were a few nuggets of gold in between.

Opening Segment: Kevin Owens In-Ring Promo

The show kicked off with the arena in darkness and Kevin Owens sitting in a lone spotlight. Very poetic after what happened last week.

The first thing I noticed was Owens getting legitimate heel heat.

There weren’t even any smarky cheers for him this week. Everybody making any noise was booing him.

Owens spends the bulk of his promo basically listing all of the reasons why a segment of fans on the internet have disliked Goldberg ever since he was running through the WCW locker room.

Owens then teases that he’ll explain why he turned on Chris Jericho during last week’s “Festival of Friendship”, but instead walks out without saying a word.

It’s interesting to note that Jericho didn’t show up at all tonight.

Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Sheamus & Cesaro — RAW Tag Team Championship №1 Contender Match

First match up has Enzo & Cass taking on Sheamus & Cesaro to not only settle the bad blood from a couple of weeks ago, but to also name who will face Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson at Fastlane.

Enzo cuts his usual promo on the way to the ring, which as an NXT fan is incredibly disappointing.

Enzo was so versatile in NXT, but on the main roster he’s been reduced to two or three catchphrases.

What stood out to me in this match is that Enzo & Cass are still incredibly awkward in the ring at times, and this awkwardness becomes glaringly obvious when they are standing across from guys like Cesaro & Sheamus.

Having said that, the match wasn’t too bad overall and both teams got in some entertaining spots (Cesaro’s European uppercut to Enzo while he was diving to tag Cass was great).

In the end Cass picked up the win by pinning Cesaro after the East River Crossing, meaning they’ll be competing for the titles at Fastlane.

After the match Sheamus hit Enzo with a big boot and Cesaro looked pretty pleased about it, so it seems they’re turning heel now?

Bizarrely, there were “Thank you, Sheamus” chants after the attack.

This is a great decision, considering Gallows & Anderson are the only credible heel teem on RAW currently.

I also get the feeling things are being set in motion for Enzo & Cass to win the belts at WrestleMania to give the fans a feel good moment, akin to Zack Ryder’s win last year.

Backstage Segment with Mick Foley and Kevin Owens

We then get a quick backstage segment of Kevin Owens trying to leave the arena, who is then stopped by Mick Foley and informed that he has a match with Sami Zayn tonight.

This was incredibly frustrating at the time, as having Owens and Zayn face off in a meaningless match seemed incredibly stupid, almost like having Kane and The Undertaker go one-on-one for no reason.

This match-up is justified later in the night, but part of me still feels like Zayn should have been drafted to Smackdown Live.

Oh, and Owens provided more foreshadowing to Foley being fired.

Backstage Segment with Mick Foley and Roman Reigns

Oh what’s that? Another backstage segment with Mick Foley? Great.

This time Roman Reigns asks for a match with Braun Strowman, even though for the past hour it’s been advertised that Braun is taking on The Big Show. Do you even watch this shit, Roman?

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson then enter and say they have unfinished business after Roman made them look like goobers last week.

Foley wants Roman to find a tag partner, but The Big Dog don’t play like that, so Roman will have another handicap match.

Will the Tag Team Champions look credible this week? (Spoilers; they won’t)

Brian Kendrick vs. Akira Tozawa

These two are feuding because Kendrick wants to be Tozawa’s mentor for some reason.

This feud doesn’t make too much sense, even for someone who’s been watching 205 Live recently.

Anyway, Tozawa doesn’t want to shake hands so Kendrick cheap shots him and then beats the crap out of him.

The match ends in a no-contest or disqualification or something. Does it even matter? It took longer to setup the 205 Live colour scheme than it did for this segment to take place.

Kendrick then gets interviewed backstage and says he’s mad about disrespect.

Whatever. This dude thinks lizard people run the world.

Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Roman Reigns

You’d think the Tag Team Champions would be able to win a handicap match, right?

Not when The Big Dog is around.

For the second week in a row Gallows & Anderson attempt to get themselves disqualified and beat down Roman with a chair, except this week Roman took the chair and used it himself.

He then fought off a two-on-one attack, Superman punched Gallows and then speared Anderson, making them look like goobers yet again.

This perfectly sums up what I wanted to do to my laptop while watching this match.

The New Day vs. Jinder Mahal & Rusev

So apparently The New Day are hosting WrestleMania this year?

WrestleMania host is code for “You guys are over as heck with the crowd and we need you on the show, but we’re not smart enough to write a non-title feud for you.”

New Day cut yet another promo about their plans to make ice cream and apparently they’ve upgraded to storing their plans on an iPad.

And then in probably the most topical reference in the history of the WWE (which, isn’t saying much) Lana, a Russian woman, reveals she has hacked them and stolen the plans. So topical, guys.

This promo felt like it went for three hours. It would not end.

We then had a completely boring match, where the most entertaining thing to happen was Xavier Woods scaring Lana with his trombone and then catching a flying iPad in one hand.

This was the same cookie cutter match The New Day have had while floating around aimless since losing the championship and they’re in real danger of having the crowd sour on them.

Cruiserweight Championship Match Contract Signing

This was hosted by Austin Aries for about 4.5 seconds. I literally blinked and then he’d disappeared.

While he was there he continued to play up his antagonistic role and at this point I’m just waiting for him to attack someone and announce that he has returned.

Neville and Jack Gallagher have a relatively boring back-and-forth exchange which ends in a brawl, just like 99 per cent of contract signings in WWE history.

Nia Jax vs. Local Jobber

WHY IS NIA JAX STILL SQUASHING JOBBERS?

Seriously. It’s been like six months now, why do we still have to regularly sit through this?

After squashing old mate she gets interviewed by Charly Caruso and expresses her anger over not having a championship match yet.

At this point RAW has come to a screeching halt. How did we get to this point after a great opening promo and a solid opening match?

Bayley In-Ring Promo

So Charlotte called Bayley out on Twitter to relinquish the title after winning in in dubious circumstances last week, despite the fact that like 75 per cent of championship wins have some kind of screwiness involved.

To make matters worse, Stephanie McMahon then comes out and asks Bayley to give up the title because keeping it would set a bad example for the kids.

This is all happening while the company annually holds an event that gives you a contract which allows you to win a championship in dubious circumstances. Try not to think about it too much.

Sasha Banks then comes out and she’s all like “Nuh uh, don’t give that title back.”

But then Charlotte comes out and she’s all like “Nah seriously, give it back.”

Stephanie then says Charlotte and Sasha will have a match right now, because why not?

Charlotte vs. Sasha for only the 300th time in the past year. Yay.

Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks

So Bayley is on commentary for this match and it’s one of the most awkward things I’ve seen in my whole life.

She has no mic skills whatsoever and I feel sorry when I see her floundering and getting flustered.

At this point she should take a page out of Daniel Bryan’s book and get acting lessons. It did wonders for Bryan’s career and character.

Dana Brook then tries to interfere like last week and in the process runs to the ring like somebody who has never ran before in their life.

Bayley makes the save and while Charlotte is distracted by these shenanigans Sasha locks in the Bank Statement and wins.

My gut tells me we’re ending up with Charlotte vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax at WrestleMania.

Backstage Interview with Sami Zayn

Sami Zayn discusses Kevin Owens’ backstabbing of Chris Jericho, saying it wasn’t too surprising considering what happened to him.

He then proceeds to cut one of the greatest promos I’ve ever seen from Sami, going in on both Owens and Samoa Joe.

This got me thinking a Joe & Owens vs. Zayn & Jericho match could be on the cards for WrestleMania.

Also, Samoa Joe is totally interfering in the upcoming match.

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

Yep. I told you.

Samoa Joe beats the heck out of Zayn, but Zayn wants to still go through with the match.

What proceeds is nothing short of Zayn being slaughtered by Owens until he hits a pop-up powerbomb and ends it.

During this relatively short segment Owens had all the intensity of his NXT run.

Hopefully he’s continually booked like this.

Backstage Segment with Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley

Stephanie berates Foley and Foley starts screaming.

God, just fire Foley already.

Stephanie also implies he’ll get taken out by Joe.

Michael Cole Interviews Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman

This was…bizarre.

Cole starts interviewing Lesnar, who then chases Cole off, takes his chair, sits directly in front of the camera and just stares while Heyman rambles on in the background about something.

This was not good.

Braun Strowman vs. The Big Show

I was dreading this match when it was announced.

Who the heck wants to see Strowman and The Big Show in the ring together in 2017?

That’s why it was a pleasant surprise when it turned out that this match was actually pretty damn good.

They started the match by freaking chain wrestling and then Strowman did a kip-up.

So weird, but so cool.

The crowd were pretty dead for most of the night, but came alive for this and even started TWO, that’s right TWO “This is awesome” chants.

Ultimately, Strowman won after he hit his running powerslam and then immediately after Roman Reigns came out.

Unlike earlier in the night, The Big Dog couldn’t overcome the odds and instead was laid out by Strowman.

They’re putting Braun over big time and he’s getting great crowd reactions.

The WWE could have a massive superstar on their hands here.

Verdict:

Overall, this episode of Monday Night RAW wasn’t great. It started with a couple of great segments and the final two matches of the night were great for very different reasons.

However, everything in between was not good.

The stretch after the №1 contender match had awful pacing, with too many backstage segments and commercial breaks.

If they were able to get the pacing right this show would have been at least good, however they completely botched it and turned the middle of the show into a nightmare to sit through.

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