It’s time for another WWE Raw Deal Review as we sit here just six days away from WrestleMania this Sunday night in Orlando. It should be an interesting night in Philly with a Lesnar/Goldberg face to face showdown promoted as well as Seth Rollins signing a contract to face Triple H at WrestleMania. Plus, The Undertaker and Roman Reigns should do some more staring as well.

Want to have fun during the show tonight? Do a shot every time they say “ultimate thrill ride.” You won’t make it through hour one!

Live from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the Raw Deal for episode #1243. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks Melo Man for the banner up top with the tug of war flashback.

The opening video package had some tease about The Undertaker and then it just stopped.

The Raw intro video aired.

The pyro went off as the crowd cheered and of course there was a shot of the WrestleMania sign. The announcers went over what’s to come: Rollins signing a WrestleMania match contract and Lesnar/Goldberg face to face.

Bayley, the Raw Women’s Champion, made her entrance. Big ovation for her. She’s wearing an Ultimate Warrior shirt on top of her gear.

Note: Earlier in the day, the women’s match was changed to an elimination match at WrestleMania instead of a regular four way with one fall.

The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves & Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show.

Bayley talked about how when she was a kid, her and her friends would get money together to order WrestleMania. She said, but this year she’s in WrestleMania. Bayley said the odds are stalked against her.

Charlotte walked out in her ring gear. She said when she beat Sasha Banks at Roadblock, Banks was completely out of the title picture and Banks found her way by beating Bayley. Charlotte called Bayley the “naïve fan girl living in a woman’s world.” Charlotte bragged about how she’s going to win at WrestleMania. Charlotte showed some tweets from Sasha and told Bayley that Sasha is waiting to stab her in the back. I think the crowd was bored because there was a “CM Punk” chant. Sasha Banks made her entrance in her ring gear.

Banks said Charlotte can’t compare her past with Charlotte to Banks’ friendship with Bayley. Banks had a line about how she beat Bayley before and she’ll beat her again. Nia Jax joined the fun because she’s not like most girls.

Jax entered the ring to say she’s going to eliminate each and every one of them, which means that title will have a permanent home with her. Charlotte said the only reason Jax is in the match is because Banks didn’t have to pretend to care about Bayley anymore.

Banks attacked Charlotte and knocked her down. Bayley jumped on Jax’s back. The show went to break with Cole saying they have a tag match coming up.

Analysis: It was a standard opening promo. They said the same things they always do without really adding anything new.  The tag match is predictable, but at least they said it was set up before instead of with the opening segment. That’s a small change at least.

(Commercial)

The match began after the break.

Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair & Nia Jax

Banks started with Charlotte for a minute. Jax got the tag, Banks kicked her in the leg, Bayley tagged in and the faces did a double dropkick that didn’t knock down Jax. Jax showed her power by shoving Bayley down. Charlotte tagged in and Bayley sent Charlotte into the turnbuckle. Bayley missed a cross body block as Charlotte moved out of the way. Chinlock by Charlotte kept Bayley grounded. Hair whip by Charlotte prevented a tag. Chop to the chest by Charlotte knocked her down. Bayley counted a Figure Four attempt by kicking Charlotte out of the ring. Banks tagged in with clotheslines on Charlotte followed by a dropkick. Kick to the face by Banks, she sent Charlotte into the turnbuckle and a cross body block by Banks. Jax got the tag, she sent Banks on the apron, hit her in the back with a body attack and Banks went tumbling to the floor as the show went to break five minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Back from break, the heels were still in control with Charlotte dropping a knee on Banks for two. Jax tossed Banks across the ring. Jax tagged in to overpower Banks while keeping her from tagging out. Charlotte hit multiple backbreakers. Banks took down Charlotte with a headscissors and sent Charlotte into Jax on the apron.

Bayley got the hot tag with clotheslines on Charlotte followed by a neckbreaker against the ropes. Corner shoulder by Bayley, back elbow, knee by Charlotte and a back suplex by Bayley for two. Charlotte came back by going after the knee of Bayley and went for the Figure Four, but Banks broke it up with a dropkick. Banks and Jax got into it on the floor with Banks sending Jax into the ring post. Charlotte kicked Banks off the apron. When Charlotte turned around, Bayley hit the Bayley to Belly on Charlotte to give her team the win after 13 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Sasha Banks & Bayley

Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid tag match. It feels like we’ve seen it before, but not for a while at least. Good job by the heels working over Banks for most of the match, Bayley was on fire after the hot tag, Banks took care of Jax on the floor and pinfall win for Bayley. They needed to book Bayley to win since she got beat by Jax the last two weeks. I’m probably picking Bayley to win on Sunday, but I may change my mind. I don’t like picking the person that went over on Raw, but the post match stuff makes it okay.

After the match was over, Jax attacked Banks with a leg drop and hit Bayley with a Samoan Drop. Jax ran at Charlotte and knocked her over. Jax held the Raw Women’s Title, stared at the WrestleMania sign (do a shot) and held up the title as her music played. Jax left with a smile on her face.

Analysis: Jax looking strong is what I expected. They protected her by having Charlotte take the pin and Jax was the only woman left standing. The other three have held the title already, so it’s about Jax proving she belongs.

Replays aired of Triple H attacking Seth Rollins a few weeks ago. The announcers wondered if Rollins would show up later.

(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: Earlier this month, I started a countdown of the 33 Greatest Matches in WrestleMania History that will end on April 2, which is the day of WrestleMania. Some of the matches I’ve written about in the last week are: Undertaker/Triple H from WM28, Undertaker/Michaels WM26, TLC featuring Edge/Christian, Hardys & Dudleys from WM17 and more. Every day from now until April 2 I’ll have a new post up, so check out the list of the Greatest Matches in WrestleMania History now!

A video aired about the WWE Hall of Fame class that will be honored on Friday night on WWE Network: Kurt Angle, Diamond Dallas Page, Teddy Long, Rock N Roll Express, Beth Phoenix and Rick Rude.

The announcers plugged the Hall of Fame airing this Friday at 8pmET. They also plugged the red carpet show an hour before that.

A video aired of Stephanie McMahon firing Mick Foley last week.

Sami Zayn was interviewed by Charly Caruso backstage. Zayn said it’s been a tough week and weird day without Foley being there. Zayn said that it’s important they had to honor his legacy and message. Zayn talked about how he has take on challenges that may seem insurmountable. Zayn said he’s going to WrestleMania, he’s going to be in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal and she said he’s going to dedicate it to Mick Foley. Stephanie showed up saying things are different now. Stephanie said that during her regime you have to earn your way. She said she wants the Andre trophy on Raw, so Zayn has to win his No Disqualification match against Kevin Owens. Stephanie said if Zayn doesn’t get the job done he’ll be fired. That ended it.

Analysis: It’s dumb that Zayn needs to win to get in the battle royal when there are people declaring themselves in the match all the time. I know it’s about Stephanie being tough on Zayn. It also sets up the obvious interference from Jericho to cost Owens since it’s a No DQ match.

Neville, the Cruiserweight Champion, is on commentary. He’s in dress clothes instead of his gear.

Austin Aries vs. Noam Dar (w/Alicia Fox)

The bell rang and Aries hit a running dropkick in the corner. They went to break twenty seconds into the match.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Dar was in control, which is standard in a match where the heel is in control after a break. Aries came back with a slam out of the corner that sent Dar face first into the mat. Aries with a clothesline, facebuster, slam and a spinning elbow. Aries kicked Dar out of the ring and hit a suicide dive on Dar on the floor. He does that well. Aries did a neckbreaker using the ropes. Neville talked about teaching Aries a lesson. Fox yelled at Aries saying she didn’t like his face. Dar with a rollup for two. Aries nailed a forearm to the face followed by a Discus Fivearm. Aries slapped on the Last Chancery submission for the win after seven minutes.

Winner by submission: Austin Aries

Analysis: *1/2 Easy win for Aries that took a few minutes more than it needed to. The crowd knows that Dar wasn’t going to win and they barely react to anything he does. Aries’ offense always looks cool. Nice to see him using the Last Chancery for the win as a different way to win a match.

After the match, Aries stood on the turnbuckle and pointed at the WrestleMania sign (do a shot). Neville stared at him.

A replay aired of Triple H calling out Seth Rollins last week on Raw.

Rollins was shown backstage walking to the ring with a crutch for assistance. He’s up next at the top of hour two.

(Commercial)

A commercial aired for Smackdown showing highlights of Shane McMahon and AJ Styles’ issues as they are set to have a contract signing this week. Also, Bray Wyatt vs. Luke Harper.

A video tease of The Undertaker aired. He was walking in a cemetery when the video stopped.

Seth Rollins and Triple H Contract Signing

Seth Rollins made his entrance. He was in his Kingslayer t-shirt and jeans. He had a brace on his right knee and a crutch on the left side. Rollins told Triple H to get out there since there were two chairs in the ring.

Triple H walked out in a suit with a contract in hand.

Hunter stood on the apron telling him that if Rollins attacks him before he signs the contract then he won’t get the match at WrestleMania. Hunter told him to get in there with the contract.

Hunter told Rollins to sit in the chair and listen to him. Hunter said if he doesn’t sit in the chair then the match is off, so Rollins sat in the chair. “Good boy,” says Hunter.

Hunter did a promo about how he’s not going to stop at WrestleMania until he destroys what he created. Hunter said if Rollins signs the contract then he gives up all his rights – Seth can’t sue Hunter, his wife, his family…he gives it all up. Rollins told him to sign the contract and hand it over. Hunter kept on talking about how people think if you’re a millionaire you’re evil and if you’re a billionaire you’re the Anti-Christ with Hunter claiming it’s because the people are jealous. Hunter talked about how he would rather sleep well than eat well. He’d rather fly in a private jet and live in a mansion. He told Rollins you only have one shot at this life, so you should grab it by the throat and screw everybody else. Hunter mentioned “ultimate thrill ride” again. Hunter mocked him for being willing to give up that money in his future. Hunter signed the contract.

Hunter told Rollins he’s the one legged man in the ass kicking contest and said Rollins won’t be the first man to win an ass kicking contest as a one legged man. Hunter told Rollins that if he signs the contract he’ll walk into WrestleMania, but “you can bet your ass you ain’t walking out.”

Rollins said that’s the same line of bullcrap that he bought into three years ago. Rollins noted that when you are rehabbing you have a lot of time to think (as Hunter knows) and gain perspective. Rollins said that he was proud of himself before he met Triple H and he didn’t mind wrestling for a hot dog and a handshake in a Philadelphia armory because he loved the business. Rollins noted that they accomplished a lot together, but at what cost? Rollins talked about how it’s not about one match at WrestleMania (he pointed at the sign, do a shot) and said it’s about redemption. Rollins said he gave up every friendship he ever had to stand up next to Triple H and for what? Rollins told him he better prepare to take off Rollins’ leg and beating him up with it because there is nothing that can stop Rollins. Rollins said he’ll get back to what things were like before he met Triple H. Rollins talked about how he needed to be Seth Freakin’ Rollins again and signed the contract.

Hunter teased leaving with the contract, but he kicked the table into the knee of Rollins. Hunter kicked the knee of Rollins. Triple H held the crutch in his hands, but Rollins hit a jumping kick to the head. Rollins set up for a Pedigree, but Hunter clipped the knee again. Hunter wanted a Pedigree and Rollins did a back body drop that sent Hunter over the top to the floor. Rollins hit Hunter in the back with the crutch and Hunter retreated to end it while Rollins stood tall in the ring. The crowd cheered.

Analysis: Good promos from each guy. I like that Rollins has a goal in the match to try to find redemption and remind himself of who he really is. It puts over the idea that Triple H is a jerk that manipulated him and changed him, so Rollins must overcome him to get on with his career. It’s an easy story to relate to. Hunter’s promo about being aggressive in life, becoming a millionaire, having a private jet and mansion was really done as he showed a lot of passion in delivering those lines.  As for the physical stuff, it shows that Rollins is ready for action. He may not be 100%, but he should be good enough to have a competitive match. I hope Rollins goes over on Sunday.

A clip aired of Goldberg beating Lesnar easily at Survivor Series. I was there. Both men are face to face later on Raw.

A commercial aired for NXT Takeover Orlando on Saturday featuring Roode vs. Nakamura, Asuka vs. Moon and the triple threat tag match.

(Commercial)

A replay aired of Rollins getting the advantage against Triple H in the previous segment.

The match is official: Seth Rollins vs. Triple H in a Non-Sanctioned Match.

Big Show made his entrance and walked by the Andre the Giant battle royal trophy. It’s a gauntlet battle royal type match.

Over The Top Rope Challenge

Big Show dumped Jinder Mahal over the top to the floor within 20 seconds.

Bo Dallas was next. Show dumped him out of the ring within 20 seconds. I’m not timing it.

The Shining Stars (Primo & Epico) attacked Show together. They tried an elimination, but Show elbowed them and dumped both guys out.

Goldust, Curtis Axel & R-Truth all entered the ring. Mahal, Dallas and the Shining Stars all went back into the ring. The Raw crew of losers teamed up together to dump Show over the top to the floor. Show went back in the ring. Show shoved all of them back. Show with a Chokeslam to Mahal, KO Punch to Dallas. Chokeslam to Axel. Chokeslam to Primo & Epico. Goldust and R-Truth both left the ring and the fans laughed. Show’s music played to end it.

Braun Strowman’s music played as the big man stood on the ramp. Strowman said if he wanted to he could beat up Show right now. However, they are all going to have to wait until WrestleMania. Show told him to come to the ring. Strowman just pointed at the WrestleMania sign (do a shot) as his music played.

Analysis: No rating for that segment.It was just an angle to put over Show as a huge threat for the battle royal. Strowman inserting himself into the battle royal makes sense since creative has nothing else for him at WrestleMania. Teasing a Strowman/Show showdown at WM makes a lot of sense even though I don’t think people care about battle royals that much. Strowman is my pick to win the battle royal.

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, the Raw Tag Team Champions, were interviewed backstage by Mike Rome. They mocked Enzo & Cass by doing an imitation of their promos. There wasn’t much else to it.

A clip aired of a grave site with The Undertaker’s music playing a grave being dug.

Analysis: That can’t be good for his hip. Be careful, Deadman.

(Commercial)

It was mentioned that Pitbull, Flo Rida, Lunchmoney Lewis and Stephen Marley will perform “Greenlight” at WrestleMania.

Analysis: Bathroom break spot at WrestleMania. I’ll definitely need one.

Roman Reigns had a brief interview with Charly Caruso where he said he had a message for The Undertaker later.

The New Day was shown at the New York Stock Exchange earlier in the day. They also gave some New Day Pops with fans outside the arena before Raw.

The New Day trio was at the steps in Philly where Rocky famously ran up. They had a race up the steps with Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods running up the steps. Big E ate cereal, yet he somehow made it up to the top before the others. Kofi and Xavier held up Big E to celebrate.

Analysis: A filler segment to remind us they are the “hosts” of WrestleMania.

Cesaro & Sheamus were interviewed backstage by Mike Rome. Cesaro said he wasn’t going to miss another WrestleMania. Sheamus said they weren’t going to let Mick Foley down. Gallows and Anderson showed up for an attack. Anderson hit Sheamus in the back with a piece of wood. G&A grabbed a ladder, hit Sheamus in the gut with it and hit Cesaro with the ladder as well.

Analysis: Cheap attack by the heel champions to weaken their opponents going into WrestleMania.

Neville, the Cruiserweight Champion, made his entrance. It should be noted that his WrestleMania match with Austin Aries is on the Kickoff Show.

Analysis: It’s a shame that they were moved to Kickoff Show, but that’s going to happen with so many matches. There will probably be 3 or 4 Kickoff Show matches.

(Commercial)

There was a commercial for a WWE 24 documentary about the Raw after WrestleMania. It featured some unique chants from last year’s Raw after WrestleMania. It airs after Raw on WWE Network.

Analysis: The WWE 24 series is always very good. I’ll check that out on Tuesday at some point.

Neville vs. Jack Gallagher

Neville refused a handshake before the match. Gallagher did a handstand to escape a headlock. Boots to the face by Gallagher leading to a rollup for two. Shoulder tackle by Neville, Gallagher take down using his legs and Neville with a snap German Suplex as the match went to break two minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Neville with kicks to weaken Gallagher. Running headbutt by Gallagher stunned both guys and knocked them down with Neville rolling to the floor. Gallagher grabbed his umbrella, went to the top rope and hit a seated senton with umbrella in hand leading to a big ovation. Back in the ring, Neville sent him into the middle turnbuckle followed by a kick to the head. Neville up top and he hit a top rope superplex. Neville did the Rings of Saturn submission for the win after seven minutes.

Winner by submission: Neville

Analysis: *1/2 It was similar to the Aries win earlier in the show with Neville winning by submission just like Aries did. Gallagher’s spot with the umbrella is always good for a laugh because of how ridiculous it looks. No surprise that Neville won because he should win in a match like that. A champion wins non-title? What a crazy thought!

There was an “Austin Aries News Network” special report. Aries appeared on the video screen. He interviewed The New Day backstage. New Day did their “who” routine. Aries asked them who will win at WrestleMania: Aries or Neville. Kofi Kingston told him the winner is determined by who can move his hips. Big E told him to move those hips. Aries did the New Day hip shake and asked them again. Neville was watching on in the ring. Xavier Woods started an “A Double” chant to end it with Aries saying he’ll see him at the “ultimate thrill ride” (way to get that in there) WrestleMania.

Analysis: It felt like a way to get New Day on the show while allowing Aries to show some personality by playing to the crowd with them.

Roman Reigns was shown walking backstage. Crowd booed when he was on screen.

The announcers mentioned that John Cena was on the Today Show earlier on Monday and announced that Al Roker will be the special guest ring announcer for Cena/Nikki vs. Miz/Maryse at WrestleMania.

Analysis: Is that supposed to excite people? An old weatherman from a morning show? Yawn.

(Commercial)

A clip aired of Goldberg easily eliminating Brock Lesnar from the Royal Rumble. Goldberg and Lesnar are on later.

Roman Reigns Feels Like Talking

Roman Reigns made his entrance. There was a mix of cheers and boos with the boos sounding louder. He stood in the ring, paused and the crowd kept making a lot of noise. Some fans at ringside were very excited to see Reigns.

Reigns said that in 2015 he won the Royal Rumble match right there in Philly. Loud boos. He said from there he went on to headline WrestleMania twice…more boos. He said this year at WrestleMania he’s going to do what nobody has done before him: “I’m going to put the Deadman down.” Reigns said he doesn’t care if you’re Goldberg, Brock Lesnar or John Cena and he doesn’t care about The Undertaker because it’s his time now, this sold out arena is his house and this is “my yard” according to him.

The Undertaker spoke as clips aired from a grave. Undertaker said the ring is his yard and this – the grave – is going to be his yard. Undertaker said he dug a hole isolated from the other souls in his collection. The Undertaker was shown on screen. He said at WrestleMania, the Roman Empire will fall and the ultimate thrill ride will be his last ride. A grave stone said: “Roman Reigns – April 2, 2017.” Undertaker told him to live each day as if it was his last because soon it will be. Undertaker ended it like this: “At WrestleMania, you will…” and the lights in the arena went out. The gong hit three times.

When the lights came on, Undertaker was in the ring for a staredown. Undertaker: “As I was saying. At WrestleMania, you will…Rest in Peace.” The crowd chanted along with the “Rest in Peace” part. Undertaker held up his hands as Reigns stared at him. Undertaker lowered his hands so that the lights could go down. The lights went out. End segment.

Analysis: That was very well done. I liked that they didn’t do anything physical because they have done that in previous weeks, so they were even in that regard. Reigns’ promo was very aggressive. I think it was a bit of a heelish delivery, which is good because that’s the role I want him to be in. It could just be a face that was confident in his abilities. Undertaker digging a grave is an old school tribute to what his character was like in the past. They haven’t done anything like that in a while, so it was a nice way of reminding us of what he was like. Reigns just standing there after Undertaker threatened him showed that Reigns is ready for him. I liked the segment. Simple but effective.

(Commercial)

PLUG TIME: In addition to all of the reviews that I do, I also did an article for TJRWrestling about some Questions & Answers heading into WrestleMania. It covers a lot without giving away all my predictions. Also, I wrote an article for The Comeback that’s all about things to look forward to after WrestleMania is over. Names like Balor, Angle, Hardy and Nakamura appear in that one.

The announcers plugged all the WWE content this coming weekend.

The duo of Enzo & Cass made their entrance to a big ovation. They did their usual promo before the match. Enzo said they are going to leave Orlando with the Tag Team Titles. Enzo said they practice what they preach, so, Big Cass did the Allen Iverson “practice” speech from 15 years ago since they were in Philly where Iverson played. That was clever. Cass said G&A’s heads were going to get burnt because it’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (TV show and a cheap pop) because…but here’s Gallows & Anderson to interrupt.

Analysis: That was a clever promo with some references that played very well with the Philly crowd. Good job.

Cesaro & Sheamus showed up on the ramp with a ladder. They attacked Anderson & Gallows from behind. Sheamus and Cesaro brawled with Enzo & Cass. Sheamus & Cesaro slammed the ladder on Cass, but Cass shoved the ladder onto Sheamus and hit a big boot on Cesaro. Anderson clipped the back of the leg of Cass, Gallows back in with a kick to Cass and the heels knocked down Cass with a ladder. The heels knocked down Enzo with a ladder when Enzo was on the top rope. That ended the segment with G&A standing tall.

Analysis: There was obviously no intention to do a match, which is fine. It furthered this triple threat match. The ladder usage suggests a ladder match could be coming. No announcement yet.

There was a video package about Maya Angelou for Women’s History Month.

Kevin Owens was interviewed backstage with Charly Caruso. Owens said that Chris Jericho was never his best friend. He noted that Jericho was wrong in thinking that Owens thought of him as a hero. Owens said Jericho was right for making fun of Owens for being a Jericho fan because Jericho fans are morons. Owens talked about how last week he ripped up the List of Jericho just like he’s going to rip Sami Zayn apart. Owens said he was looking forward to making Sami say he’s not a WWE superstar anymore. Owens claimed he’s going to take away Zayn’s career like Jericho took away KO’s Universal Title. Owens said at KO-Mania 2 (WrestleMania) he’s going to turn the “ultimate thrill ride” into Chris Jericho’s ultimate demise.

Analysis: Very good promo from Owens as usual. I liked his comedy bits of the past, but it’s better for his career for him to be a more serious heel. He’s very believable, makes great points and the audience is always going to pay attention to him because of his delivery. A lot of others could learn from him in terms of his promo style.

There was another reminder of Triple H vs. Seth Rollins at WrestleMania.

(Commercial)

The announcers talked about how there’s a Kurt Angle exclusive interview on demand on WWE Network.

Here’s another replay of Triple H and Rollins from earlier.

A video package aired showing the Triple H/Seth Rollins history. It focused on things like Rollins winning the NXT Title in 2012 with Hunter congratulating and Rollins aligning with Hunter in 2014. It moved ahead to their problems as well as all of their promos and clips of Rollins doing rehab.

Analysis: Excellent video package as always. That has been a strength of WWE production for many years. I’m not sure if it was needed since they were on the show a lot already. I don’t mind it because it covered their story well.

The announcers mentioned every WrestleMania match. They went through all 13 announced matches. I have them all at the bottom of this review if you don’t know them. That took about two minutes to get through them all. They talked about ordering WWE Network as well.

Kevin Owens made his entrance for his match.

(Commercial)

Sami Zayn made his entrance.

No Disqualification Match: Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

If Zayn wins he’s in the battle royal at WrestleMania. If Zayn loses then he is fired.

The action spilled out onto the floor early on. They brawled over by the hockey boards in the arena. Owens sent him face first into the announce table twice. Owen was standing on the side of the ramp, so Zayn ran, jumped off and flipped onto him to knock him down. Big spot as the show went to break two minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Zayn teased doing a move on the steel steps. Owens came back with a DDT on the steps followed by a back splash on the floor. Back in the ring, Owens got a two count. Owens hit Zayn with two clotheslines. Zayn came back with an Exploder Suplex that sent Owens into the corner. Zayn attacked with a leaping Tornado DDT between the ropes that took down Owens on the floor. That’s a move he’s done a lot, but it always generates a big ovation. Back in the ring, Owens charged in and Owens stopped him with a superkick. Owens to the top and he connected with a Frog Splash for a two count. Zayn avoided the Popup Powerbomb and hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. That’s the move he doesn’t win with, but he always earns a good ovation with it.

Samoa Joe went down to ringside. He grabbed a steel chair. Chris Jericho’s music hit, he entered by jumping the barricade and knocked Joe down. Jericho hit Joe in the back with a steel chair. Owens attacked Jericho. Zayn with the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Owens for the win after 11 minutes.

The win means that Zayn is in the battle royal at WrestleMania.

Winner by pinfall: Sami Zayn

Analysis: ***1/4 A very good match as usual from them. It felt a bit different from their other matches because it was more of a brawl with some big moves done on the floor. It also fit that Joe showed up first since the heel Stephanie set up the match as a No DQ to make it unfair for Zayn, but Jericho was there to watch his back. Jericho getting involved made sense as a finish. I was waiting for a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! finish on this show because it’s what WWE loves to do, so of course they did it in the last match of the night.

After the match, Jericho hit Owens with the steel chair to the back. Owens went up the ramp with Joe. Jericho had a new List of Jericho and he put Owens on “The List,” which drew a big ovation.

There was a shot of Brock Lesnar’s locker room door. Goldberg’s locker room door was also shown. They are up next.

(Commercial)

There was another commercial for WWE 24 about the Raw after WrestleMania special on WWE Network after Raw.

This week on 205 Live: Brian Kendrick vs. Akira Tozawa.

Lesnar and Goldberg “Face to Face”

Brock Lesnar walked out to a nice ovation. He had his advocate Paul Heyman with him. They entered the ring.

Heyman said Lesnar is the “extremist” that will derail Goldberg’s “ultimate thrill ride” this Sunday at WrestleMania. As Heyman tried to talk, fans chanted “Goldberg” to interrupt him. Heyman paused. The “Goldberg” chant was replaced by a “Suplex City” chant. Heyman said that we all have a difference of opinion, but that difference gets settled this Sunday at WrestleMania. Heyman noted that Goldberg will be the Universal Champion going into WrestleMania and he’s the number one centerpiece on Raw. Heyman said that Lesnar wants that title, Lesnar needs that title and Lesnar lusts after that title. Heyman spoke about how so many others tried to pull off what Goldberg accomplished like Sting. I think he meant it in the sense of an older guy coming back. Heyman: “Goldberg, you are a real life superhero. Goldberg, you sir are truly the man. But my client Brock Lesnar is a beast!”

Heyman said that Lesnar is going to chew Goldberg up and spit him out. Heyman told Goldberg that this Sunday he’s going to Suplex City where Goldberg’s check in and never check out. Heyman noted that his client Lesnar does not fear the Spear because Goldberg cannot survive the F5. Goldberg made his entrance.

Analysis: The promo from Heyman was fine. It was the usual thing he’s done many times. Way to take your time, Goldberg. I guess old people are slow.

Bill Goldberg entered the arena with the Universal Title around his waist. Fans chanted “Goldberg” for him.

Goldberg said they didn’t come there to see them talk. He suggested that they bring WrestleMania to Philly.

Lesnar left the ring, Goldberg charged at him and hit a Spear to knock him down on the floor. It didn’t even look that good, but Lesnar sold it like a big deal. Goldberg’s music hit, he posed in the ring with the Universal Title and replays aired of what happened.

Lesnar went up the ramp with Heyman with Lesnar selling the attack. Goldberg posed with Universal Title some more and that was it for Raw at 11:12pmET.

Analysis: That’s it? Weak ending. One move put down Lesnar again just like it has done to the past. I figured they might do a wild brawl around ringside with neither man getting the advantage. Nope. Goldberg got the advantage again. I think it’s disappointing that WWE believed that was the best way to end this show. It could have been a lot more exciting if they had a competitive battle. Instead, Lesnar is made to look like a loser again.

What should they have done? A brawl to end the show with the locker room emptying to break them apart. That would have been an ending that left us wanting more. Instead, we got to see Goldberg beat up Lesnar again. Yawn. It’s not that exciting.

I’m picking Lesnar to win on Sunday. I lost my interest in Goldberg several months ago. Do the title change, retire and move on. Goldberg’s just not that interesting anymore.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. Sami Zayn

2. Kevin Owens

3. (tie) Triple H

3. (tie) Seth Rollins

 

The Scoreboard

5.5 out of 10

Last week: 4.5

2017 Average: 5.35

Average since brand split starting July 25/16: 5.69 (Smackdown is 6.62)

Last 5 Weeks: 5, 7, 4, 5.5, 5

2017 High: 7 (Feb. 6 & March 6)

2017 Low: 4 (Jan. 9 & Feb. 27)

 

Final Thoughts

I give it a 5.5 out of 10.

It was an average show. My rating is slightly above average. Promo heavy show with some decent matches.

I thought the build for Triple H/Rollins was really well done. The Undertaker’s segment with Reigns wasn’t as interesting as the other weeks. Goldberg vs. Lesnar wasn’t that interesting. As I said, a brawl would have been better and a hotter ending to give people something to talk about.

Zayn vs. Owens was best match even with a predictable finish.

Here’s what we know for WrestleMania 33 on April 2 in Orlando.

Universal Championship: Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar

WWE Championship: Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton

The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns

United States Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens

Triple H vs. Seth Rollins in a Non-Sanctioned Match

AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon

John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse

Raw Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Nia Jax

Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss to defend against all Smackdown women who are available to compete.

Raw Tag Team Championships Ladder Match: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo & Big Cass vs. Sheamus & Cesaro

Andre the Giant Battle Royal – Participants announced include Braun Strowman, Sami Zayn, Big Show, Mojo Rawley, Apollo Crews and Curt Hawkins. (Kickoff Match)

Cruiserweight Championship: Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries (Kickoff Match)

A Smackdown Tag Team Title match could be added as well.

That’s all for now. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.

Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Raptors. Go Toronto Maple Leafs.

John Canton – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

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