RAW Recap, March 2017: Jericho roasts Owens, Triple H offers a WrestleMania challenge

credit: WWE.com
credit: WWE.com /

Recapping WWE RAW from March 20, 2017

Foley Forever 

It seemed Mick Foley didn’t use his week to find his dignity, as his first spoken words of the night were from an apology letter to the power couple that embarrassed him last week, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. At the end of the letter, Foley claimed he’s taking an imminent leave of absence. For a second, this seemed like a legitimate ploy by Foley, but as it turned out, Stephanie wrote the letter on index cards, and handed them to Foley right before he walked to the ring. She then uttered the two words that made her villainous old father blush, “YOU’RE FIRED!!!!”

This week’s Contestant on “I Have a Death Wish” is … Sami Zayn! Zayn came out to stand up to the Queen for one of his heroes. McMahon told Zayn he’s not on the level to speak to her, and you’d have to be a fool to disagree. Not as big of a fool as Zayn himself, who bit off more than he could chew. Nobody’s bite is big enough to chew Samoa Joe, the newest Authority henchman, who came out to see that this transaction went smoothly.

McMahon put Joe and Zayn in a match, and even though we’ve seen this just a few weeks ago at Fastlane, this match was a lot better. It did have the same ending, only instead of passing out to the Coquina Clutch, Zayn tapped out. With neither Joe or Zayn on the WrestleMania card, and with Joe showing zero signs of ever being able to lose to Zayn, it’d be interesting to see these two battle for a third time. It’d need to be some sort of win or Zayn gets traded to SmackDown Live type stipulation for it to be worth it for Joe. Although seeing him under the bright lights with Sami Zayn’s body parts scattered throughout the ring does paint an enticing picture.

Markin’ Out, Mannnnnn

Chris Jericho is a national treasure, and I hope you all realize that. This episode of The Highlight Reel was especially amazing, as Jericho found a photo from Kevin Owen’s childhood where Owens was donned in vintage Y2J t-shirt, and featured some direct Twitter DMs from back in the day of Owens asking Jericho for advice.

I always forget that Jericho is United States Champion, because he doesn’t need to be. Whether he’s draped in a gold belt, or a nylon scarf, Jericho is what he claims to be: the G.O.A.T. He was a longtime veteran by the time John Cena was a rookie, and has been making wrestling magic in WWE since ’99 — and other promotions before that — so it’s pretty incredible that you could say this entire year may be the best on his already long resume. Jericho, in all his glory during this promo, was temporarily distracted by Samoa Joe, who always finds a way to stay busy on Monday nights, before being taken out from behind by Owens. This feud has been personal since it began, and whether it’s for the United Stated Championship or not (it is), this will be one of the highlights of WrestleMania.

Bah Gawd, This Match Will Be Unsanctioned!

Triple H showed up to his interview with Michael Cole in a crisp suit, but nothing was crispier than his words. Triple H had no sympathy for Mick Foley, and his “potato chip nugget of an ear,” nor did he have any for Seth Rollins, who he gave quite the beating to last week. Triple H did show some heart, when he handed Michael Cole two tickets to WrestleMania to give to Foley, so he could be in the crowd that he loves so much.

Earlier in the night, we received an update from a WWE doctor who said Rollins is still months away from coming back for a match. He said that if Rollins were to compete at WrestleMania 33, he fears Seth would be back in his office needing more treatment the next day. Just when we thought Triple H and Seth Rollins wouldn’t fight, Triple H said he would give Rollins a chance next week to sign a contract for an unsanctioned match, saying that if Rollins gets hurt, he can’t sue Triple H or his wife. The document still needs to be signed, but is there any doubt? This is the final match that is yet to be added to an already stacked card, and once it is set in stone, this could be the WrestleMania last year’s should have been.

Fight For Your Right To Fight

Continuing her “Curse Everyone Who Mick Foley Helped” Tour, Stephanie McMahon stacked the odds against one of the two No. 1 contender teams for the Raw Tag Team Championships, Sheamus & Cesaro. Mick Foley was the man who made these two a tag team in the first place, and they even had a short championship run by ending The New Day’s record setting reign of 483 days.

McMahon, unimpressed with the team’s short but inspiring stint, put them in a match against Enzo & Cass and Gallows & Anderson. If Sheamus & Cesaro lost, they’d be out of the Triple Threat Tag Team match at WrestleMania. This match didn’t play out like a handicap match, as Gallows & Anderson immediately went after their partners, Enzo & Cass.

Was I the only one confused by this? Not only did Gallows & Anderson attack their partners, despite if their team was victorious, their chances to retain the titles would have increased from 33.3% to 50%, but I was also confused that Cass took Luke Gallows off the apron when he was about to save their team from defeat. Sheamus & Cesaro won quickly by way of a Brogue Kick to Anderson’s chrome dome, so the Triple Threat Match is still on. I hope that match leaves me with less questions than this one did.

Strowman Doesn’t Reign

Joe vs. Sami Zayn wasn’t the only rematch from Fastlane we got to see on RAW, as Roman Reigns faced Braun Strowman in the main event. It had a couple workings of why many of the fans boo Reigns, including an immediate recovery after being in a two-minute long headlock from Strowman’s tree stump arms, and a finish where he speared The Undertaker. (Oh yeah, he was there too.) It’s pretty obvious that Reigns will be the second person to defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania, and that just makes me sad, especially since it’s going to be the same formula we literally just saw in this match vs. Strowman.

The ending to this night did little to benefit Braun Strowman, who is (unfortunately) destined for the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Sure, he picked up the win by disqualification, but proceeded to be chokeslammed by the Deadman while he was in the middle of eating the Superman punch/spear sandwich. All I want in life is Braun Strowman to be involved in the Universal Title scene, and for WWE to use him properly. Can’t a man achieve his dream?

Highlight Reel

  • After Foley was canned, he said goodbye to people in the back, including Sami Zayn, Sheamus, Cesaro, some cruiserweights, and Bayley. As a child of the Attitude Era, this was one of the saddest moments I can remember, and I almost choked up when he was hugging Sheamus. This all came to a halt after Bayley’s hug, when Triple H appeared, all cool and calm in the corner. His face when he told Foley to “Have a Nice Day!” was why he will forever be the best heel of all time.
  • Charlotte finally got to face her former protégé, Dana Brooke, in a one-on-one match. Despite this match going chalk, with Charlotte picking up the win, a few things stuck out at me: Dana Brooke’s purple boots, Dana Brooke’s fighting spirit, and Dana Brooke’s name missing from the WrestleMania card.
  • On the cruiserweight front, Brian Kendrick beat TJ Perkins (though he needed to pull his hair to do it), and then called out Akira Tozawa. I take that back — it was less of a call out and more of a “hey, I stole your passport.” Kendrick is a petty man, and it’s no wonder he’s not the top heel on 205 Live. Neville has that spot locked down for the foreseeable future.
  • Two generic Goldberg/Brock Montages!!!
  • Nia Jax had a chance to get in the RAW Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania. All she had to do was beat the Champion, Bayley, in a No Disqualification match. Bayley put up a great fight in the ring, but once it was taken outside, things got ugly fast. Nia Jax flung Bayley around like a fly swatter, and officially added herself to the WrestleMania match against Charlotte, Bayley, and Sasha Banks.
  • A couple of crowd gripes: Bayley/Jax wasn’t the correct match for the crowd to do the wave; they missed that boat — pun intended — during the Perkins/Kendrick match. Also, CM Punk chants are about as cool as a baby blue FUBU leather jacket. Los Angeles wrestling fans rejoiced as Brooklyn made a solid case to lose SummerSlam.
  • #PotatoChipNugget
  • New Day did some backstage hyping as a taste of what’s to come when they host WrestleMania. They mentioned a few of the matches they’re looking forward to the most, and even acknowledged things we don’t usually hear of on RAW, including SmackDown Live, and Pai… nevermind.
  • Cruiserweights usually get two segments on RAW, and this week was no exception, as Austin Aries beat Tony Nese in the third hour. After the match, Neville came out to talk a little smack to Aries, but it didn’t work, as Aries is a wordsmith warrior. Aries said he’s going to take Neville’s Cruiserweight Championship at WrestleMania, and I don’t doubt him whatsoever.
  • Keep getting them checks, Emma.