There are two big parts of Raw I want to talk about in depth – the women’s main event and the…the other thing. We’ll come to that. So I’m just going to rattle through everything else that happened on the show first…
Roman Reigns still managed to stand tall over both the Raw tag team champs Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in the opening bout. This was the worst thing on the show. If you don’t count the crippling emotional turmoil of…we’ll come to that.
The New Day want to succeed where CM Punk failed. No, not making part-timers subject to the Wellness Policy. They want their own brand of ice cream. Kofi Kingston beat a very over Bo Dallas. Jack Gallagher then beat Noam Dar
Emmalina debuted 133 days after her first repackage promo to announce…she’s going to repackage herself back as Emma. I understand that television shows sometimes intentionally annoy their viewers. Game of Thrones killing all your favourite characters, The Walking Dead killing all your favourite characters. But few do it to the patronising, petty extent of WWE. Those aforementioned shows create frustrating moments to service story. WWE do it to amuse themselves backstage at our expense.
Braun Strowman beat Mark Henry, and then beat Roman Reigns too.
Sami Zayn beat Rusev with a sudden Helluva Kick, and then cut a great promo criticising Samoa Joe – a feud I never knew I wanted until just then. Joe attacked him after a very effective sit down interview with Michael Cole. I’m now totally behind Samoa Suit Joe. He looks like a mobster.
Akira Tozawa continued his momentum beating Ariya Daivari with a snap German suplex. Ha! And Enzo Amore almost worked as a heel when losing to Cesaro.
Right. It’s time. The Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens’ Festival of Friendship segment.
Really, it was much more Chris Jericho’s festival. He’d done all the planning. Commissioned the Creation of Kevin artwork. Hired Friendship the Magician. Owens was the straight man here, a bit perplexed by all the effort Jericho had gone through. It was very much like Mankind’s infamous This Is Your Life segment with The Rock.
But it was more than that. KO’s frustration sometimes looked apprehensive, like he was wrestling with something inside himself. Maybe it was over whatever Triple H told him in their private word together backstage.
After Gillberg came out, instead of the actual Goldberg like KO had hoped, Owens snapped at Jericho. He’s fighting for his Universal Title in a few weeks, and you bring out jokes like Gillberg!? Chris apologised, and then appeared to shoot, speaking genuinely from the heart. He said this last year has been one the best of his career because of Owens, because of their chemistry together.
KO felt bad. He feels the same way too. To make it up, he gave Jericho a gift of his own: a new list.
That’s good, said Y2J. The old one’s looking a little bit battered. And then, in what will go down as one of the best moments on Raw from the last five years, he lifted the list from the box. It said ‘The List of KO’ on the back. Jericho couldn’t see it, but we, the audience, realised right then what was about to happen. That’s called dramatic irony. Then came those six heartbreaking words: ‘How come my name’s on this?’
It wasn’t always the best story between Owens and Jericho. The whole Roadblock part of their friendship was horribly contrived. But this was a hell of a culmination, and a very unique wrestling plot device. To quote Reddit user CanadianToffee18, “A heel just turned heel.”
In years to come, people will look back on this angle just like they do with Shawn Michaels superkicking Marty Jannetty. Or Seth Rollins turning on The Shield. We all knew it was coming, but that didn’t make it any less incredible. Bravo, WWE.
I wasn’t as much of a fan of the main event, though. As great as Bayley vs Charlotte was, the title change was empty. Don’t let the chants of ‘You Deserve It’ drown out the real issue – this was a wasted story.
I always thought Bayley winning her first title was a Wrestlemania-calibre moment, coinciding with Charlotte’s first ever pay-per-view loss. Then it means so much more and you solidify a star in the process.
But Bayley’s victory here rang hollow. Since the 19th December episode of Raw, Charlotte and Bayley have fought four times in singles competition, getting two victories each. Their tag match record has them at one win a piece. It works out as exactly 50/50 booking. Nobody gets over, because everyone’s the same.
Dana Brooke’s deus ex machina-like appearance weakened the story even more. Bayley not seeing Sasha Banks’ crutch shot to Charlotte’s boob, however, was a nice touch to build to later dissension.
Raw Is Cor
Apart from the opening Roman Reigns segment, nothing else on Raw dragged, with the majority being either very good or great. Samoa Joe was excellent, Sami Zayn cut a passionate promo, the Bayley title change was certainly noteworthy, even if I disagree with it happening, and the Festival of Friendship will go down as one of the all time great Raw segments. Even Bo Dallas managed to get heat.
What did you all think? Let me know in the comments below.