Last week, the earth moved on its axis and the unthinkable happened when Brock Lesnar left Goldberg laying just one night after the returning Superstar had captured the Universal Title. With a crack in the champion’s armor going into WrestleMania, Lesnar returned to Raw with Paul Heyman in tow to sing his client’s praises and, once again, prophesize the downfall of Goldberg at The Show of Shows. He did this via the power of mathematics, unveiling what he referred to as “The Theory of WrestleMania Relativity”: F-5 = Lesnar goes up, down goes Goldberg.
Dana Brooke has been a one-woman wrecking crew for Charlotte Flair for a long time now, even providing the decisive assist in several of her record-setting pay-per-view wins, though it appears the most prolific partnership in the Raw Women’s division has reached its end. Tasked by Charlotte with, essentially, injuring Sasha Banks so she can’t compete in the Women’s Title Triple Threat at WrestleMania, Dana fell short in decisive fashion. And after Banks defeated Brooke with a rollup, Charlotte took to the ring and brutally relieved Dana of her duties … a firing that Dana repaid by pouncing on The Queen and mauling her mercilessly about the squared circle. In other words: it’s been fun, Charlotte, but playtime is over.
Akira Tozawa has been clamoring to face The Brian Kendrick for some time now, and after Kendrick faked him out on 205 Live — he sent “A Bryan Kendrick” after Tozawa, teaching him to read the fine print — The Stamina Monster finally got his chance. And he lost.
Granted, both of those statements come with pretty big qualifiers, as Tozawa and Kendrick were on opposite sides of a tag team match. Though they both got some licks in on each other, neither were involved in the conclusion. Matters came down, in fact, to TJ Perkins (Tozawa’s partner) and Tony Nese (Kendrick’s partner), whom Kendrick rescued from a Detonation Kick by grabbing his ankles. Tozawa dispatched Kendrick quickly, but The Premier Athlete saved the bout for his team, shoving TJP into Tozawa and rolling him up with a huuuuuge handful of tights for the win.
With his title gone and his former best friend put on notice, Kevin Owens is on the warpath headed to KOMania 2, or, as it’s more colloquially known, WrestleMania 33. And if tonight’s tag team bout was any indication, Owens isn’t out for victory as much as he’s out for punishment. Teaming with Samoa Joe against Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn, the two heavy-hitters were at a surprising disadvantage … at least until Zayn came down bad on a plancha and tweaked his knee. Owens & Joe instantly pounced on Zayn, forcing the ref to throw out the match. And when Jericho came to the rescue of The Underdog From the Underground, they ganged up on him too. Joe held Jericho’s arms while Owens teed off, punctuating the assault with a Pop-up Powerbomb.
And your No. 1 contenders for the Raw Tag Team Championships are … everybody! Despite the best efforts of Raw Tag Team Champions Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson to take out all their prospective No. 1 contenders — Enzo Amore, Big Cass, Cesaro and Sheamus — at the same time, their titles are in a more precarious position than ever. Ironically, this is thanks to a coordinated effort by the champs to take out their challengers in one fell swoop. The good brothers jumped the barricade in the heat of the match, taking out legal men Sheamus and Cass simultaneously, resulting in a No Contest. Gallows & Anderson continued to reclaim what they felt was a stolen spotlight by stomping out Cesaro and Enzo. The joke, alas, was on them. Already at his wits end over Stephanie McMahon forcing him to fire someone, a harangued Mick Foley repaid the champs' chicanery by putting them in a Triple Threat Match at WrestleMania. Oops.
So last week, this happened, which means we’re now headed straight for this. And as it turns out, if Roman Reigns has his way, The Undertaker will end up on the wrong end of this. That’s right, The Big Dog voiced his intention to not only defeat The Phenom at The Showcase of the Immortals, but also retire him. He revealed this after defeating Jinder Mahal, who’d been placed into a prove-it match with Reigns and almost won when The Deadman’s gong distracted The Big Dog to the point of near-defeat.
Reigns dared The Phenom to present himself after the match, but in a shocking twist, he got Shawn Michaels. HBK came to Detroit with words of warning for The Big Dog, who the WWE Hall of Famer claimed was unfocused and unprepared. Reigns responded to “Mr. Wrestle-Frickin’-Mania’s” olive branch with the surprisingly bold promise to end The Phenom’s legendary career, but he barely even got up the ramp before Braun Strowman bowled him over, sending Reigns tumbling in between the ramp and the barricade.
Punching Neville in the face with a microphone was just the beginning for Austin Aries, who now has two consecutive wins under his belt. After a successful 205 Live debut, Aries picked up his first-ever win on Monday Night Raw at the expense of Ariya Daivari. The world-traveled Superstar put on quite a clinic against his wily opponent, brutalizing The Persian Lion with a pendulum elbow, suicide-dive clothesline and his discus elbow for the win. The groundwork has been laid, and if Aries prevails in tomorrow night’s Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match, he’ll earn a WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match at WrestleMania. Time to let that greatness shine through.
For the fourth-straight year, Big Show is headed to WrestleMania as the odds-on favorite to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. But first, he has a Titus O’Neil problem to take care of. After stepping to Big Show during the debut episode of The New Day’s talk show, “New Day Talks,” The Big Deal found himself placed into a one-on-one bout with The World’s Largest Athlete that ended in utter calamity for the former WWE Tag Team Champion. Despite an aggressive start by O’Neil, Big Show felled his foe with a trifecta of chokeslams. Given that The World’s Largest Athlete won both his first WCW and WWE Titles in Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena, it’s hard to imagine a more fitting farewell from Show to the Joe.
Sasha Banks managed to avoid injury headed into WrestleMania, but Raw Women’s Champion Bayley might not be so lucky if things keep going the way they did tonight against Nia Jax. Emboldened by Sasha’s words that Jax is beatable, Bayley took the fight to her imposing opponent, locking in a variety of submission holds to attempt to take away Jax’s wind. But Nia powered through all of the The Huggable One’s best efforts, pulverizing her to the point of disqualification. That result only emboldened Jax to hurt Bayley some more, trapping the champ in the Tree of Woe and putting a few more boots to her before throwing her into the barricade.
Well this got interesting real fast: Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon attempted to jump-start General Manager Mick Foley’s business acumen by demanding he pick a Superstar to fire by night’s end. And after a disheartening search all night, The Hardcore Legend finally came up with a solution: He’d fire her!
Of course, not only did that sit badly with Stephanie, but it also sat badly with Triple H, who emerged from behind the curtain to threaten the livelihood of both Foley and his children. The Game demanded Foley vacate the ring, but The Hardcore Legend replied by jamming Mr. Socko down his gullet. Stephanie low-blowed Foley to stop the attack, but before The Game could finish off the embattled GM, Seth Freakin’ Rollins came to the rescue.
Casting aside his crutch and looking none the worse for wear, Rollins successfully took the fight to Triple H, going so far as to expel him from the ring. That is, until The Game grabbed hold of the crutch and whacked away at Rollins’ knee like Honus Wagner, ultimately locking The Architect in an inverted Figure-Four Leglock that left Rollins barely able to stand. When he finally did, Triple H teed off on his knee again. Say this much for Rollins: His knee was looking pretty good at the start of this. Now? Not so much.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Sasha Banks (w/ Bayley) defeated Dana Brooke (w/ Charlotte Flair) (1:22)
- The Brian Kendrick & Tony Nese defeated Akira Tozawa & T.J. Perkins (8:50)
- Chris Jericho & Sami Zayn defeated Kevin Owens & Samoa Joe by disqualification (3:41)
- Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Cesaro & Sheamus ended in a No Contest in a #1 Contendership match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship (7:59)
- Roman Reigns defeated Jinder Mahal (2:55)
- Austin Aries defeated Ariya Daivari (3:46)
- Big Show defeated Titus O'Neil (1:50)
- Bayley defeated Nia Jax by disqualification (7:45)
Other on-screen talent