We expected a match between these two at WrestleMania and Jericho wasted no time challenging Owens, who accepted because he wants to take the U.S. title so badly away from Y2J. Love that we not only got a little brawl, but out came Samoa Joe to further tease his possible alliance with Owens. Zayn came to Jericho's aid with a chair in hand and the good guys were eventually able to chase the others away. Zayn has history with both guys, so it makes sense for him to get involved here. Fully expected a tag match to form from this segment, but instead we got Zayn and Owens go at it once again, which got the champ back in the win column.
2) The Cruiserweight Package – Michael Cole and Corey Graves can't even hide their laughter at this point with Austin Aries' joke. I don't know how long he can keep it up (thanks folks, I'll be here all night), but for now, it's working for him. Chicago loved Aries, giving him a chant during Neville vs. Rich Swann's fantastic match. Speaking about the division, the Cruiserweight Classic stood out because these guys were allowed to go out of their mind in some matches. I get they work more often, so they can't do big spots all the time, but title matches on Raw are the place where they should, Neville and Swann did just that. We then jump right into a post-match promo between Aries and Neville where Neville apparently spits, a lot. Even though the crowd cheered on Aries as the next contender, Aries kept his cool until he decked Neville with the microphone and took out the champ. Looking forward to this feud as Aries was able to find his voice and vibe while on commentary.
3) A Beast Leaves His Cave - WWE played it smart with Goldberg, he did his promo until the "CM Punk" chants came from the crowd, cue Paul Heyman, who turned things around in a hurry. He wasn't alone though, out came Brock who went directly to the ring. Heyman did his usual hyping of the match and pointed out that Brock just wanted to shake hands, which quickly went to Goldberg on the receiving end of an F-5. As dominant as Goldberg has been, WWE is going to have be creative with how they handle this feud and upcoming match. Glad to see them get in some physicality between these two right off the bat.
4) Don't Cry Over Spilled Coffee – If it's one thing that Cesaro loves, it's his coffee and Enzo found that out first hand. I wasn't looking forward to a rematch between Cass/Enzo and Gallows/Anderson, but the segment was booked well once Sheamus/Cesaro showed up. They are clearly frustrated with Cass/Enzo and it looks like WWE will finally decide who will get a shot against Gallows/Anderson at WrestleMania. I'm curious to see if WWE will only pick one team or if it will still end up being a triple threat tag match.
5) Who's the Man? – Lots of manly talk last night between Triple H's promo saying how Rollins calls himself "The Man," Triple H leading by example, so others would call him "The Man," and Braun Strowman wanting Roman Reigns to come out "Like a man." Speaking of Rollins and Triple H, nothing gets me more pumped up than a satellite interview and physical therapy footage! I realize WWE can't fully commit to this feud because of Rollins' injury, it does hurt the build-up a bit.
Emma – Looks like we got confirmation that the old "Evil Emma" we all fell in love with will be returning in the near future. It's a good choice by WWE to not force some gimmick that she just couldn't properly pull off, she spent all of that time working away from her initial goofy, dancing gimmick, glad to see she gets to continue on her evil character.
Brian Kendrick – Even though the live crowd was pretty hyped for most of the show, and even for Tozawa's performance, that promo fell on deaf ears. I feel like Kendrick was a great name to help get the Cruiserweight Division going, but think he's falling behind as more Cruiserweights find their stride.
The Shining Stars – I mean, do we really need an explanation? They didn't get an entrance and were defeated with Big E grinding on one of them during the pin, ouch.
Braun Strowman – This really isn't so much Braun's fault, but after losing to Reigns last night, he attempted to call out Reigns, got Undertaker instead, and backed out of the ring. I guess if Braun should relinquish the ring to anyone, it should be Taker, but let's hope WWE has something decent planned for Braun going forward, because last night, he was just an afterthought.
This Week's MVP
The Undertaker – I'm sure we could pick a couple different people this week, but I'm going with Taker for making a big impact in a short period of time. His entrance is iconic as ever, he made it clear that WrestleMania was in Reigns' future and then chokeslammed "The Big Dog" for the exclamation point.
After a dismal Raw last week, things much improved with WWE bringing out all the big guns, Brock, Taker, Goldberg and Triple H all made appearances in some form. We're fully in WrestleMania season, which means it's time to appeal to the casual fans as much as possible. This may turn off some, but it's just the trend with how WWE books their biggest show of the year. We still have three episodes of Raw to go, and I thought WWE did a solid job of kicking off a majority of their feuds (which somewhat surprisingly) had a lot of physicality right off the bat.
Grade (out of 10): 7 (Last Week: 3)
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