Well, if you're gonna get fired, might as well go out with a bang (bang).
Raw General Manager Mick Foley was officially future-endeavored in the opening moments of Raw by Commissioner Stephanie McMahon after he Mr. Socko’d Triple H back to 1999 last week, and the Commissioner made sure to bring the proverbial hammer down as hard as she could: Not only did Triple H force Foley to read a message off of index cards, Stephanie cut off The Hardcore Legend's mic after he tore the cards to pieces and began to lace into the power couple, an interruption that culminated in his firing.
She didn't have any sympathy for Foley's locker room allies, either. When Sami Zayn came to protest the Commissioner's decision, Stephanie immediately placed The Underdog From the Underground into a match with Samoa Joe. Zayn responded by diving over the ropes onto The Destroyer before the bell even rang.
This cannot be denied: A fired-up Sami Zayn is a different Sami Zayn. But it still wasn't enough to stop Samoa Joe.
The monstrous Superstar extinguished The Underdog from the Underground's fire in Raw's grueling opening bout, gradually wearing down Zayn's furious efforts to defend the honor Raw General Manager Mick Foley.
Of all The Samoan Submission Machine's opponents thus far, Zayn came as close as any to scoring the upset win. He thwarted Joe's attempt to administer the Muscle Buster and roared back from a near count-out defeat to put Joe on his heels.
He even busted Joe open by ramming him headfirst into the post, but a wobbly Joe still caught Sami with the Uranage seconds before the Helluva Kick was about to make landfall. One Coquina Clutch later, and Sami had no choice but to tap out.
In her first bout since clotheslining her way out from under Charlotte's thumb last week, Brooke took it to her onetime sensei in such aggressive fashion that The Queen was noticeably thrown off her game.
Dana nearly won the match after knocking Charlotte to her back with a clothesline, but The Genetically Superior Superstar caught her off her guard with a big boot a few moments later. It wasn't her most scientific maneuver ever, but it was high-impact and proved to be enough to keep Dana down for the three-count.
Chris Jericho dropped two bombshells last week: That to him, every male announcer is Tom Phillips, and, more pertinently, that he would expose “the real Kevin Owens” on “The Highlight Reel” this week. Well here it is, maaaannn, and as it turns out, the real Kevin Owens is ... a fan! ... Maaaannn.
Jericho plastered a picture of a teenage Owens striking a Y2J pose in a Jericho T-shirt all over the TitanTron, followed by a Twitter DM conversation where KO cold-called Jericho for advice after getting signed. All of this led Jericho to promise Owens that KO would experience the unique humiliation of losing to his idol at WrestleMania during their United States Title Match.
But you know what happens when you show Kevin Owens’ childhood photos? You know what happens? He beats you up, that's what, preferably with an assist from Samoa Joe, who appeared atop the ramp to distract Jericho while KO snuck up from behind and obliterated The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla. Owens laid into his former partner with merciless abandon before tearing The List of Jericho to pieces and hitting his Y2J pose for good measure.
It's been a rough couple of weeks for TJ Perkins, who not only suffered the deciding pinfall in last week's Cruiserweight tag team match, but also fell short of an opportunity to reclaim the WWE Cruiserweight Title at WrestleMania on 205 Live.
The Brian Kendrick added to TJP's woes on Raw by defeating his old protégé, negating an energetic effort when he yanked a handful of The Fil-Am Flash's hair before administering Sliced Bread No. 2 for a quick victory.
Kendrick even served an L to the absent Akira Tozawa, revealing that he'd prevented The Stamina Monster from coming to Raw by stealing his passport off the locker room floor. This, of course, was just Kendrick's latest lesson for the Japanese suplex machine: Be careful what you leave lying around.
Well, WrestleMania wouldn't be The Ultimate Thrill Ride without a few twists and turns. Unfortunately, Raw Women's Champion Bayley ended up on the wrong end of a barrel roll this week when she fell to Nia Jax in a non-title No Disqualification Match, meaning that the formidable female is now entrant No. 4 in WrestleMania's Raw Women's Title Match. Gulp.
Facing Jax as a Stephanie McMahon-ordered punishment of sorts for throwing in with ousted Raw GM Mick Foley, The Huggable One dug deep to deny the Superstar who has hounded her as far back as WWE NXT, booting a chair into Jax's face and delivering a Stunner in between the ropes.
Moments later, however, Jax tripped Bayley off the ring post, sending the champ bouncing back-of-the-head first off the turnbuckle and stumbling into a Samoan Drop. A Fatal 4-Way it is, and Bayley's grip on her title just got that much more precarious.
So, it's a good-news-bad-news situation for Seth Rollins as WrestleMania looms in the very near future.
The bad news is that Rollins’ physical therapist more or less said there was no one in the world who would clear him to battle at The Show of Shows. The good news is that Triple H apparently doesn’t need a doctor’s note to accept the bout. In fact, The Game pretty much gave The Architect his blessing to face him at The Ultimate Thrill Ride … provided Rollins gives up his safety harness.
After his latest and most savage victory lap yet wherein he gloated over mangling Rollins’ healing knee last week on Raw — going so far as to blame the audience for enabling Rollins’ kamikaze mission — The King of Kings unveiled his latest Plan B: A Non-Sanctioned Match that he would gladly walk into at WrestleMania, provided Rollins appears on Raw next week to sign a Hold Harmless Agreement that would prevent him from taking legal action should he sustain further injury.
Long story short? The WrestleMania Raw Tag Team Title picture is staying the way it is.
That said, it was looking a little bit hairy for Cesaro & Sheamus, who found themselves in a 2-on-4 Handicap Match against champs Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson as well as fellow challengers Enzo Amore & Big Cass with their own title opportunities on the line (another Stephanie McMahon special for the two Mick Foley Guys). And then, Gallows & Anderson went and played themselves.
The good brothers jumped Enzo & Cass before the match, opting to tussle with Cesaro & Sheamus by themselves. But Cass took Gallows off the apron and Anderson was left by his lonesome to suffer a Brogue Kick to the face that Southpaw Regional Wrestling legend Tex Ferguson would have been quite envious of.
It got worse for the champs almost instantly after the bell, as the Certified G's beat the champs down with a big boot to Gallows and a Bada Boom Shakalaka to Anderson.
Austin Aries is officially headed to his first WrestleMania, and while he'll have to go through Neville in order to come back as WWE Cruiserweight Champion, Aries’ performance on Raw seemed to indicate he was both physically and mentally ready to battle The King of the Cruiserweights.
For one, Aries notched a victory, dispatching a game Tony Nese with his signature Discus Fivearm (better than a forearm). And when Neville himself attempted to worm his way inside Aries’ head, the No. 1 contender swiftly boxed him out, promising that he would bring Neville's “façade” of kingship crashing down at The Showcase of the Immortals. He best not miss.
Granted, The Monster Among Men certainly dished out his share of punishment against the former WWE Champion, finally exorcising the weeks of aggression he's been harboring since his loss to The Big Dog at WWE Fastlane. After clotheslining Reigns out of the air in the middle of the Drive-By, The Gift of Destruction was off to the races.
But once Reigns had recovered enough to set Strowman up for the Spear, The Undertaker materialized in the middle of the ring and, after a long staredown with Reigns, opted to take out Strowman instead, handing the monster a disqualification win.
The Big Dog quickly pounced with a Spear and departed the ring, but The Phenom sat bolt upright as Reigns made his exit, signifying it'll take a lot more than that to entomb him in his own yard.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Samoa Joe defeated Sami Zayn by submission (12:20)
- Charlotte Flair defeated Dana Brooke (3:35)
- Brian Kendrick defeated T.J. Perkins (1:25)
- Nia Jax defeated Bayley in a No Disqualification Match to be the #1 Contender for the WWE Raw Women's Championship (10:35)
- Sheamus & Cesaro defeated Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson and Big Cass & Enzo Amore in a Tag Team Handicap Match (0:35)
- Austin Aries defeated Tony Nese (8:05)
- Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman ended in a no contest (9:00)
Other on-screen talent