WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown Live
Mike Miceli – Staff Writer
Welcome to another edition of Bell2Bell where we recap both WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown LIVE every Sunday right here on TwoCentsTV!
After a brief hiatus, we’re back! And WWE Fastlane is tonight on the WWE network, so lets get to the recap and then we’ll move on to my Fastlane predictions!
WWE Raw 2/27/17
As a go home show for a PPV, this was pretty mediocre. And that’s all a really have to say, so let’s get on with it.
Raw kicked off with Goldberg coming to the ring to talk about his match against Kevin Owens at Fastlane for the Universal Championship. He promises everyone, including his wife, child and Kevin Owens that he is leaving with the title.
Kevin Owens comes out to interrupt. Owens runs down all the big opponents he’s beaten since his debut and he says that Goldberg is next. Feigning enthusiasm, Goldberg slow claps sarcastically. Goldberg says he doesn’t want to wait until Fastlane and they can have this fight right here, tonight. After a brief tease, Owens declines, saying the people in Green Bay don’t deserve to see him fight.
Owens says that he’s going to beat Goldberg on Sunday and at Fastlane, the “Goldberg” chants die.
SIDE NOTE: It’s interesting that Owens used the word “Evolution” this week and last week he mentioned “playing the game”. I don’t want to read too much into this but I hope this is foreshadowing of a new, evolution-esque stable with HHH, Owens, and Samoa Joe.
The New Day comes out to the ring for one of their cheesy promos which essentially boiled down to plugging their new ice cream themed t-shirt. The Shining Stars come out for what they believe is a match. In a call back to the major gaff at the Academy Awards (because Vince loves being relevant), The New Day informs The Shining Stars that they aren’t facing them tonight. The Shining Stars will actually be facing Big Show later in a handicap match. The New Day’s actual opponents are Jinder Mahal and Rusev and that match is next.
It’s kind of sad just how little WWE creative has for New Day to do at this point. Pathetically, absurdly sad.
Surprise! This throwaway match, had throwaway entertainment value. Xavier Woods took some abuse for the start of the match until he was able to get the hot tag to Big E who came in and hit multiple belly to belly suplexes to clean house. Eventually Rusev and Lana got into it at ringside with Kofi Kingston distracting Jinder Mahal and allowing Woods to get the roll up pin.
What’s even sadder than New Day’s lack of direction is Rusev’s current status as a jobber. After the match Rusev and Mahal argued, signaling a potential break-up that can’t come fast enough. Rusev’s just too good for this nonsense.
Backstage Enzo and Cass are talking about Cass’s match with Gallows tonight and their title match at Fastlane… well Enzo was talking. Cass just kind of stood there until it was time to say his line… which is what he usually does.
Elsewhere backstage, Cesaro and Sheamus run into Samoa Joe. Cesaro and Joe get into a bit of an argument. Joe says Cesaro is just upset because he’s been wallowing in obscurity, while Joe shot to the top of Raw as soon as he arrived. Cesaro tells Joe that all he does is carry Triple H’s jockstrap.
SIDE NOTE: It’s nice to see Sheamus and Cesaro continue to gel as a team and stand up for one another as they did this week.
STILL backstage (this is a wrestling show, right? Shouldn’t there be more… wrestling? Damn 3 hour runtime filler garbage…), we find Foley and Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie can’t resist emasculating someone and does so at Foley’s expense as is par for the course.
Not only does she basically call him a wimp, but also makes fun of his numerous health issues and hip problems. You know… those issues that he has as a result of all the sacrifices he’s made for the business. Playing a heel, or not, there should still be some level of respect shown to legends who have given everything to this business. Stay classy, WWE.
SIDE NOTE: Despite his obvious hip/mobility issues, Foley has lost a lot of weight and looks fantastic especially now that he has some clothes that fit his new figure a little better.
Here come the cruiserweights!
Tozawa beat Noam Dar and was attacked post-match by Brian Kendrick.
There go the cruiserweights!
(Because if WWE isn’t going to put any effort into the cruiserweight division on Raw, why should I?)
Backstage…again… Samoa Joe approaches Mick Foley and asks if he’s having a nice day. Foley says it’s not a good day and he’s having a rough time as GM. Foley says he used to be a fan of Joe’s but now all he sees is another one of HHH’s puppets. And, since it looks like he may not be Raw GM much longer, Foley is making a match for Joe against Cesaro tonight.
Charlotte is out next with Dana Brooke. The two come down to the ring and start a promo on Bayley for not handing over the Raw Women’s Championship last week. Bayley’s music hits. She comes out and says now that she’s achieved her dream to be Women’s Champion, her next dream is to defend the Women’s Title at WrestleMania. Sasha Banks comes out next and talks about Bayley and how awesome she is (laying it on a little too thick… heel turn baiting perhaps?). They challenge Charlotte to a tag match which she accepts but says her partner won’t be Dana Brooke (Thank God…), it’s going to be Nia Jax (…damn it).
Nia starts off the match, looking strong but sloppy which is typical for her. Her timing just seems off all the time. Never tight, never smooth always awkward. Is it just me?
This was essentially a glorified squash match. Both Bayley and Sasha got in minimal offense (unless it was against Charlotte) while Nia pretty much dominated. Right up to the finish where Nia caught Banks after an attempted top rope splash, then slammed Banks into Bayley. Nia then hit Bayley with a big leg drop for the win.
I hated every… single… solitary… second of this “match” when Jax was involved. This lazy, garbage booking of Jax is a futile effort to get her over. It is backfiring in every capacity and a stark contrast to the success that Braun Strowman has had. Jax is just not a good talent. She’s stiff, awkward, and sloppy. And seeing good wrestlers like Bayley (your CHAMP mind you) and Banks fed to her constantly and without remorse is pointless, disheartening, obnoxious, and transparent. Even worse, it’s not working in the slightest. All it takes is Jax getting on the mic to undo any progress (minimal, minuscule progress) that was made in the first place. I can’t stand it.
Jax is single-handedly ruining the women’s division on Raw. There, I said it. Come at me, bro!
SIDE NOTE: Beth Phoenix was announced as the next inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame and all I can say is… why? Her 6 year career wasn’t very remarkable. The only reason she held the Women’s Championship for as long and as often as she did is because she had no real competition at the time. Her major claim to fame is that she kissed Great Khali to eliminate him from the Royal Rumble. And, the fact that she’s getting inducted before a posthumous induction for Chyna (a woman who really did pave the way for women’s wrestlers in a man’s world- 1st woman in a Rumble, 1st-female IC champion, 1st woman to challenge for the WWE Heavyweight Championship, co-founder of DX, multiple time Women’s Champion) is a downright travesty.
Strowman approaches Foley backstage and demands a contract signing with Roman Reigns (because how else were we going to get him on this show). Strowman had a convoluted, nonsensical excuse about Reigns running away if there wasn’t ink on paper. Uhh… ok.
Big Cass defeated Luke Gallows in another perfect example of how to NOT book your tag team champions. Ugh. This is the third week in a row that either Gallows, Anderson, or both of them have been completely buried. And despite having those shiny new belts on their shoulders, there might not be a way to come back from this. I don’t know what WWE is thinking here. I really, truly don’t. Just because Gallows and Anderson have the belts, doesn’t mean they won’t look like complete losers if you consistently book them that way.
Despite a pre-match attack from Titus, Sheamus crushed Titus O’Neil with a “Brogue Kick” out of nowhere for the win in a very quick match.
When we come back, Corey Graves has set up chairs in the ring for sit-down interview with Seth Rollins about his knee injury. Rollins comes down to the ring on a crutch, mic in hand. Rollins cuts a very genuine and emotional promo. He says he might have deserved his injury for selling out to HHH and taking the easy road. Rollins regrets some of the things he did and says it doesn’t look like doctors will clear him in time for Wrestlemania.
Triple H’s music hits and he makes his way down to the ring and hops up onto the ring apron. Samoa Joe appears on the other side of the ring, trapping Rollins between the two. Corey bails, leaving Rollins alone.
HHH says that it doesn’t matter what the doctors or anyone else says, Rollins won’t be at ‘Mania and conintues to cut a pretty epic promo on Rollins. He says Rollins knew what he was getting into when he “bought in” not sold out and HHH made him one of the biggest stars WWE had seen in a while. Hunter continues to say Rollins shoved it in everyone’s face when he was champion, but he outlived his usefulness and Rollins needs to get over it.
Triple H tells Rollins not to come to Wrestlemania. To not try to all him out for a match. Rollins says he’ll be at Wrestlemania if it’s the last thing he does. Triple H gives Rollins a half smile as he and Samoa Joe back off and head up the ramp. Rollins stares at them from the ring as the segment ends.
NOTE RANT: To the one, lone loser in the crowd trying to chant “CM Punk” throughout this entire awesome segment- go back to your mother’s basement and cry yourself to sleep you waste of life.
Big Show crushed the Shining Stars in a one sided (but not in the way you’d think) handicap squash match. Big Show is in absolutely incredible shape and it’s a shame it looks like his match with Shaq won’t be happening. I hope they can find something significant for him to do at ‘Mania considering retirement is probably around the corner for him.
There was another blink and you miss it cruiserweight tag match with Jack Gallagher and TJ Perkins defeating Tony Nese and Neville. Nese tapped to Jack Gallagher’s submission hold as Neville thought better about getting in the ring to break up the submission.
Backstage Sasha Banks is talking to Bayley when Stephanie McMahon approaches them and tells Banks she now has a match against Nia Jax at Fastlane… because apparently we haven’t seen those two go at it enough yet…
Samoa Joe and Cesaro had their match next and it was a pretty good one. These two guys have a lot of history dating back to their ROH days and their in-ring chemistry is fantastic. Joe looked like a monster with some stiff kicks and great submission work. Cesaro shined with his amazing strength-based moves. I really enjoyed the match, even if it was on the shorter side. Samoa Joe was able to reverse Cesaro’s “Neutralizer” and hit his uranage suplex finisher for the win.
After the match Joe began to cut a promo on the ramp. He says he’s here to hurt people. Cesaro may be a freak athlete, but he’s no Samoa Joe. Out of nowhere he’s attacked by Sami Zayn. This brawl was viscous as the two fought all over the arena and into the crowd.
The two brawled for a while and Sami even nailed a dive off the stage onto Joe which was pretty awesome to see.
The two continued to brawl until being separated by security. Even though I’m 99.9999% sure that Zayn is going to lose at Fastlane, it should at least be a pretty awesome match.
When we come back from commercial, Mick Foley is in the ring and it’s set up for the Reigns/Strowman contract signing. Just the thought of Strowman signing a contract is kind of silly to me. Strowman immediately tells Foley to leave. Foley refuses and says that Strowman should respect him as GM. Strowman says he used to respect him but now he’s just a broken, suburban dad. Foley stands up to Strowman and says he’s a WWE legend and that deserves respect.
SIDE NOTE: So Foley finally got to stand up to someone… but not Stephanie because… reasons… I guess.
Roman Reigns’ music hits and he makes his way down to the ring. Strowman meets him halfway and the two begin to brawl. Now if Strowman’s whole deal was that he wanted Roman to sign the contract, why would he stop him from doing that? Before he got to the ring even?
Anyway the two had a pretty impressive fight all around ringside. They fought into the production area and into the crowd. Roman speared Strowman through the ring barrier. Eventually the two made their way back into the ring and brawled some more. Strowman is eventually able to throw Reigns into the turnbuckle. He throws him so hard that the top turnbuckle flies off in a pretty impressive looking spot (even if it was rigged). The segment ended with Strowman standing tall…
… is how I would like to say the segment ended.
But Reigns, like a wounded soldier in Saving Private Ryan, crawls across the ring to sign the contract. Roman then poses with the contract like a triumphant hero for the camera (even though he just got his ass kicked) as the show goes off the air to his music (even though Strowman was clearly the victor in this situation…). Groan…
That final part of this contract signing segment, in all of it’s over-dramatic, super-hero crap glory, is why people hate Reigns and everything about him.
This Raw was pretty hard to sit through. Lots of filler and over use of backstage segments. Boring in-ring segments. Matches that were either pathetically short or poorly executed. All this added up to a mediocre Raw that seems to be twiddling it’s thumbs as opposed to trying to make compelling, entertaining television. While I enjoyed the Joe/Cesaro match and the Rollins interview segment, it wasn’t enough to save this show. Lucky for them some of these matches are exciting in and of themselves and most of the match build up had already been set in motion.
Click below to head on over to page 2 for my Smackdown recap!