By Josh Coulson
The final pay per view stop before WrestleMania 33 is over and done with. Nothing but TV from here on in. Well for the first RAW following Fastlane there was a lot of fall out to deal with. Time to start getting those WrestleMania feuds well and truly under way. KO to address his title loss. Goldberg to address his title win. And fingers crossed a few big returns to really get the blood pumping for Orlando in less than four weeks’ time.
The Jericho face turn is complete! And not only that, the match between him and Kevin Owens we’ve all been waiting for is officially booked for WrestleMania 33. Plus it’s for the US championship to boot. The former best friends, something KO now disputes, opened Monday’s RAW and got a lot of things off both their chests. Turns out the pair couldn’t wait for Mania to get their hands on each other and went at it there and then. Enter Samoa Joe, confirming suspicions that he, Triple H and KO are all aligned in some way. It didn’t take long for Sami Zayn to arrive and even the odds, steel chair in hand, and eventually see off KO and Joe alongside Jericho.
All signs pointed to a tag match following that opening segment. However Teddy Long is not the RAW GM remember. So instead Mick Foley booked the latest instalment of Zayn vs Owens. The match did have its moments, but it was not the 20 minute epic spot fest that we’ve come to expect from the familiar pairing. Instead an Owens still irate from losing his title at Fastlane made short work of Zayn. KO delivered not one, but two consecutive pop up power bombs to finish off The Underdog and pick up the win.
Turns out Rich Swann was still owed a rematch for the cruiserweight title. Well the former champ cashed that opportunity in on Monday night. He had a lot to live up to after the match Neville and Gallagher put on at Fastlane and he certainly did a fair job of that. Two fantastic cruiserweight title matches in the space of 24 hours. Maybe the division is finally about to get the recognition it deserves. Swann tapped to Neville’s Rings of Saturn to ensure the title remains in the same place for now. That was not all however. In a post-match interview Neville pushed Austin Aries a little too far and finally it would seem A-Double is ready for in ring action. He dropped the champ and sent the king running for the hills.
Not as strong a reaction as Goldberg has gotten elsewhere from the Chicago crowd on Monday night. In fact there were an awful lot of boos compared to the usual ‘GOLD-BERG’ chants. The new champion didn’t have to endure that for long as he was interrupted by Paul Heyman so that The Advocate could introduce his client, Brock Lesnar. Heyman led us and Goldberg to believe that Brock simply wanted to shake Goldberg’s hand. Not so. Turns out The Icon is still capable of taking a bump after all as Lesnar delivered an F5 to the Universal champion. It’s been a long time coming.
At Fastlane things didn’t really go to plan for Enzo and Cass. Despite Enzo getting a foot on the rope Amore was pinned and lost on Sunday night. In light of that injustice him and Cass were awarded a rematch on Monday. They might have done well not to rub it in Sheamus and Cesaro’s face beforehand though. The European pair made their way to ringside for the match and caused a fair bit of chaos after Cesaro’s coffee was knocked from his hand. The match was thrown out via disqualification and next week Enzo and Cass will face off with Cesaro and Sheamus for the right to face the champions at WrestleMania.
More cruiserweight action followed the tag team chaos as Akira Tozawa made very short work of Ariya Daivari. Tozawa got a little revenge on his ‘mentor’ Brian Kendrick at Fastlane, but following his victory on RAW demanded The Wizard of Odd come out and face him one on one. Kendrick did not oblige. Instead he told Tozawa he’d have to wait until 205 Live for his answer.
Aside from pushing popsicles, New Day are really spinning their wheels right now. Yes they may be hosting WrestleMania but is that really what a tag team of their caliber wants over a match at the show of shows? Anyway on this week’s RAW the trio flaunted their ice cream cart once again in tandem with resoundingly beating The Shining Stars.
Fair to say that the RAW women’s scene did not take the road we expected at Fastlane. Bayley is still champ and that begged the question, who will she face at WrestleMania? Well Sasha Banks was of the belief that she deserved a shot, something Foley agreed with. However Charlotte and Stephanie believed that Flair deserved a rematch. The compromise? Flair gets her shot, and if Banks could beat Bayley then and there the match would become a three way. Well just as Banks looked like she had Bayley where she wanted her, enter Charlotte. Flair of course would rather have Bayley one on one and attempted to break Sasha’s bank statement while the referee was distracted. Instead Banks kicked Flair in the face, using the momentum to get the women’s champ away from the ropes and subsequently made her tap. So it’ll be all three ladies doing battle in Orlando.
While WWE may want us to believe that it’s still touch and go whether Seth Rollins will be able to compete at WrestleMania, I don’t think many of us are fooled. On RAW we were shown a video package detailing Seth’s rigorous rehab routine preparing him for April 2nd followed by a satellite interview with his Mania opponent, Triple H. The Game detailed exactly how foolish he thinks Rollins is if he really does intents to turn up in less than four week times, and reiterated that if he does it’ll be the last thing he ever does in WWE.
The other more intriguing match that was made in lieu of a tag match at the beginning of the night was Samoa Joe vs Chris Jericho. Joe continued his tradition of making short work of superstars we hope to see face off with him again in a longer form match down the line. A little bit of a different route to the same destination this week. Joe slapped the coquina clutch on to Y2J outside the ring, choking out the US champ then scampering back into the ring in time to pick up a count out victory. Jericho wasn’t as out of it as The Destroyer thought though. On throwing Jericho back in the ring for a further beat down he was struck with a code breaker for his troubles and sent reeling from the ring.
It had been made common knowledge throughout the night that Braun Strowman was looking for Roman Reigns. Well Reigns informed Braun that if he wanted him he could find him in the ring at the end of the night. Strowman obliged but didn’t quite get what he expected. Instead of being greeted by Roman, The Undertaker made a shock appearance and needed to do nothing more than stare at Strowman to send him packing. Then came Roman Reigns. Reigns informed Taker that Braun had asked for him, and added that it was his yard now. The Deadman clearly does not agree. Taker grabbed The Big Dog by the throat and choke slammed him to the mat. He also threw a glance at the WrestleMania sign in there as well. Looks like Roman Reigns vs The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33 is on.