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!
WWE Raw 3/13/17
No. No, WWE. I’m not coming back this time. this time. You won’t lure me back by whispering sweet “Attitude Era” nothings into my ear. Not this time. I’m not falling for it… I’m not… I swear…
Raw kicks off with Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar coming down to the ring to brag about the F5 Lesnar nailed Goldberg with last week. Every mention of Goldberg’s name got a very mixed reaction. When part of the crowd tried to chant “Goldberg” the remaining majority of the crowd drowned them out with boos. It seems that, for the majority of the WWE Universe as well as myself, Goldberg winning the title left a sour taste in many mouths.
Heyman slayed Goldberg with a fantastic promo. Paul E. explained his “Theory of Wrestlemania Relativity” which boiled down to “Lesnar Goes Up, Down Goes Goldberg” and that at Wrestlemania, Lesnar will have the greatest comeback in WWE history.
Backstage, Stephanie confronts Mick Foley and says he’s taking his job (and Steph’s recent insults) to personally. He needs to start thinking about being more business oriented. Stephanie says she’d like to teach him how to do that. She says he has to scour the roster and find someone to fire by the end of the night. Foley reluctantly agrees.
Sasha Banks takes on Dana Brooke next with both Bayley and Charlotte at ringside. The match was pretty short with the women going back and forth a little (very little) bit. Brooke still doesn’t look natural in the ring, but is lightyears better than Nia (more on her later). Banks hit her double knees in the corner. The whole match Charlotte was barking orders at Brooke from ringside. Banks was able to get a roll up pin for a quick victory. Corey Graves on commentary pointed out that Sasha used the tights.
After the match, Charlotte got the ring and started running Dana down. Charlotte called her a disgrace and said she doesn’t deserve to be by her side. She says Dana isn’t going to ride her coattails to Wrestlemania and she’s finally getting rid of her. Dana snaps and nails Charlotte with a huge forearm. Dana beats on Charlotte a bit and chases her out of the ring where they continue to brawl. Charlotte eventually gets away and retreats up the ramp. Brooke actually got chants of “Dana” throughout the crowd but I think people were more happy to see Charlotte get her comeuppance more than anything else.
The best thing, I think, for Dana would be to head back down to NXT and work on developing her in-ring and mic skills a little more. Then she can come back strong and step into a ready-made feud with Charlotte. She has a great look and the potential is there, she just needs more time to hone her skills.
Akira Tozawa and TJ Perkins faced Tony Nese and The Brian Kendrick in a decently competitive match that was given more time than the crusierweights usually get. The match was entertaining at times but not particularly engaging and not near the caliber of some of what we’ve been seeing from Neville lately.
Speaking of Neville, he was shown watching the match on a monitor backstage. Tozawa was eventually knocked to the outside and Nese rolled Perkins up for a pin using the tights for leverage.
Kevin Owens is in the ring with the spotlight on him. The crowd chants “Y2J”. He cuts a good promo about Jericho, they’re fake friendship, and how he took the spotlight and put it back right where it belongs. Owens blames Jericho, again, for his loss at Fastlane saying he never would have been in that match in the first place if it weren’t for Y2J. Jericho took his title away from him so he’s going to take Jericho’s title away from him. And the only thing Jericho will have left will be the “Tears of Jericho” (Cry ’em out man). Owens says who needs best friends when you’ve got a “Destroyer”.
SIDE NOTE: This promo was good (as any KO promo usually is) but it was extremely redundant and retread a lot of what we already heard last week and the week before.
Samoa Joe comes down to the ring looking like a monster. He and Owens will take on Jericho and Sami Zayn.
This match was a big opportunity for Joe and Owens to heel it up. Using dirty tactics and cheap shots throughout, this match seemed like a kayfabe excuse to beat the hell out of people they didn’t like. Which I’m fine with. That’s what heels should do.
Kevin Owens and Jericho started off, but Kevin immediately tagged in Joe instead. Joe and Jericho went at it for a bit and, as I said, both Joe and Owens showed their more vicious sides. Sami and Jericho did manage to get in some offense at the start but not much. Eventually Sami hurt his knee after a top rope dive and like sharks smelling blood in the water, Owens and Joe attacked.
Joe and Owens double teamed Sami ignoring the referee’s warnings. The match was thrown out as Sami and Jericho win by DQ. Jericho came in to try to save Zayn, but Joe and Owens double teamed Jericho, beating him down and hitting him with a pop-up powerbomb. Referees came down and pulled them apart, but the damage was done.
Backstage Stephanie is trying to help Foley decide who to fire and she suggests Sami Zayn. Mick doesn’t look to keen on that idea. They are interrupted by Nia Jax (yay…). She says she deserves to be in the title match at Wrestlemania (Please no….). Stephanie agrees Jax deserves some of the spotlight (no she doesn’t) and she’ll get it tonight in a match with Raw Women’s Champion, Bayley.
The New Day have a new backstage talk show “New Day Talks”. They’re plugging the new WWE/Jetsons mash up movie with Big Show as their guest. Big Show begins to talk about his role in the movie, but is quickly interrupted by Titus O’Neil (who only exists to randomly get his butt kicked, it seems). Titus is upset he isn’t in the movie and shoves Big Show (not smart).
SIDE NOTE: “New Day Talks”? This is the best you’ve got for these guys, WWE? Your longest running WWE tag team champions in history and you’ve got them selling WWE cartoons?
Jinder Mahal found Mick Foley backstage and told him that he better not be thinking of firing him. He’s a main event talent. Foley said if he thinks he’s a main event talent then he can face Roman Reigns tonight.
SIDE NOTE: Mahal’s body looks like a road map of veins… are we sure he’s passing his wellness testing?
Cesaro and Sheamus faced Enzo and Cass for the #1 Contendership for the Raw Tag Team Championships. Enzo cut another nonsensical promo, now hawking a “Cuppa Haters” mug… great. This was a typical Enzo/Cass match with Cass doing all the heavy lifting and Enzo getting his butt kicked the entire time. Eventually, Gallows and Anderson ran down to the ring and interfered, causing a DQ draw.
After the match, Foley confronted Gallows and Anderson backstage and said now their title match at Wrestlemania is a triple threat against Sheamus/Cesaro and Enzo/Cass. I think everyone pretty much saw this coming, but the question is, with the way these teams have all been booked of the last couple of months, does anyone really care?
Jinder Mahal and Roman Reigns had their pathetically short “match” next. Reigns dominated until the Undertaker’s gong went off, providing a distraction. Mahal kneed Reigns in the head, but Reigns (being Superman) pretty much no-sold it and hit a superman punch for the pathetically quick win.
After the match Roman got on the mic called out The Undertaker. He is interrupted by HBK Shawn Michaels who comes down to the ring. Michaels says that Roman doesn’t know what he’s getting into. Reigns is distracted, unfocused and already in Roman’s head and Undertaker will eat him alive at Wrestlemania. Roman said that Undertaker retired Michaels but at Wrestlemania he’s going to retire the Undertaker and he then left the ring.
On his way up the ramp, Reigns was attacked by Braun Strowman who blasted him from behind. The crowd chanted “Thank you, Strowman.” as Reigns rolled around the ramp area in pain.
SIDE NOTE: I gotta wonder why Strowman is sticking around this storyline. At this point I think they’re keeping Strowman involved in case they either have to add Braun into the match or replace Undertaker all together because of Taker’s lingering health issues. Despite being one of the greatest of all time, Taker’s performance at the Rumble did not instill a lot of confidence in his current in-ring abilities.
Foley and Stephanie are again backstage and Foley still hasn’t made up his mind as to who he will fire by the end of the night. Stephanie says Foley has an hour left and if he doesn’t decide, she will.
Here come the cruiserweights!
Austin Aries beat Ariya Daivari in a very short match that was disappointing to say the least.
There go the cruiserweights!
Big Show “fought” Titus O’Neil next and hit him with 3 quick chokeslams to win this insultingly short match.
SIDE NOTE: It was announced that Big Show would be a part of the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. I feel bad for Show as it’s now obvious that his match with Shaq will not be happening. Sadly, he misses out on that big Wrestlemania moment. Hopefully he’s around for next year’s Wrestlemania and can have one more big moment before he retires.
Backstage, Sasha is talking with Bayley about facing Nia Jax. Sasha tells Bayley to ignore all the haters. Bayley asks what she means and Sasha explains that the haters are all the people who don’t think Bayley is “championship worthy”. Sasha says to focus on Nia Jax and Wrestlemania. Sasha leaves and Bayley looks confused by Sasha’s “haters” comment.
SIDE NOTE: It seems they’re dropping the seeds for a Sasha heel turn that can’t come fast enough.
Backstage Jericho is icing his neck when he’s approached by “Not Tom Phillips”. Jericho says next week there will be a special edition of the “Highlight Reel” and his guest will be the “real” Kevin Owens.
Bayley VS Nia Jax was next and it was a typical boring Jax match with a slow plodding pace and awkward in-ring movement. Bayley was tossed around like drag doll for a bit. Bayley got in minimal offense and Nia eventually trapped her in the corner where she beat Bayley down. Jax refused to stop beating Bayley, ignoring the referee and was disqualified.
After the bell Jax beat Bayley some more and then took her out of the ring and slammed Bayley into the ringside barricade. So Bayley loses again. Sure, I know she technically “won” by DQ but did she really “win”? I don’t think so. She looked weak yet again. Not a good look for your supposed champion.
Mick Foley and Stephanie come down to the ring to announce who Foley has decided to fire. Foley says he thought long and hard about it. He scoured the roster but he kept coming back to the same name and that person is Stephanie McMahon.
The crowd launched into a massive “Yes!” chant as Foley continued. Mick said Stephanie deserved to go because she treats the superstars like jokes instead of human beings. He says when he looks at Stephanie all he sees is a really good liar and a really bad person. Foley said she has been secretly working with HHH all along to manipulate things to get what they want in WWE.
SIDE NOTE: It’s nice to see Foley definitively stand up to Stephanie after months and months of berating on her part. Even if it doesn’t quite make up for all the things she’s said for the sake of “story” or “heat”.
This brings out HHH who comes to the ring with a big smirk on his face. He tells Foley that he’s a “fun little nostalgia act” and that he worked hard so he wouldn’t become a pathetic has-been like Foley. If it were up to him, he never would have brought Foley back, but Stephanie has a big heart and likes Foley. But Foley is dangerous close to being back on the road telling stupid stories about the man he used to be.
Foley says he has the respect of the WWE superstars and maybe their envy, because at least he doesn’t have to pretend to like HHH like the rest of the roster. And he doesn’t have to pretend to like who he sees in the mirror.
HHH then mentions how Foley’s son Dewey works at the Stamford, CT office and that his daughter Noelle wants to be a superstar. Hunter threatens to fire Dewey and destroy Noelle’s WWE superstar dreams if Foley doesn’t follow Stephanie’s orders from now on. When it looked like Foley had accepted this, he pulled socko out from his pants and hit HHH with a mandible claw!
SIDE NOTE: I marked out here a bit. This is almost where you won me back, WWE…. almost. But like I said, I’m not falling for it this time.
Stephanie nailed Foley with a low blow that dropped him quickly. HHH moved towards Mick when Seth Rollin’s music hit. Seth limps his way down the ramp with his crutch. Rollins (stealing a page from Tiny Tim) stopped halfway, brought the crutch up, then dropped it on the ground before charging the ring.
Rollins attacks HHH and hits him with a series of punches and kicks and his looks like it’s in pretty good shape. HHH fell out of the ring, but quickly returned with Rollins’ crutch. HHH hits Rollins in the knee with the crutch and locks him in a knee bar submission hold.
Referees come down to break them up, but Hunter hits Rollins with the crutch one more time as Raw goes off the air.
This was a hit and miss episode of Raw. We saw some great story advancements and promo work. Foley’s mic work tonight was great, as was Hunter’s. And the finish to the show was really strong. But there were also a lot of filler segments and pathetically short matches with nonsense finishes like DQs and quick roll ups. This is one of those episodes of Raw that could be condensed down to 30 minutes as opposed to dragging the audience through three hours of mostly boring filler.
Click below to head on over to page 2 for my Smackdown recap!