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RAW Recap & Review – Episode 1297

WWE RAW
Episode 1297
#RAW

Original Air Date: April 2, 2018
Event Date: April 2, 2018 (aired live)

City: Atlanta, GA
Venue: Philips Arena

Commentary: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman
Ring Announcer: Jojo

 

Ring Area
Jonathan Coachman is in the ring. He introduces tonight’s show, the last RAW before Wrestlemania, and is set for a face-to-face meeting between the competitors in the ‘Mania mixed tag match. Coachman first introduces Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, and the two head to the ring. Next, Coachman introduces Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey. They head to the ring as well.

Coach has some questions prepared from social media, but Triple H has something to say first. Triple H comments on the crowd chanting for Rousey, and says those chants will be silenced after Wrestlemania. He also questions Angle’s intelligence. He wants to know why Angle has ruined Rousey’s WWE debut by setting her up to fail.

Rousey doesn’t let Angle answer and instead asks why Triple H and Steph signed her if they had ulterior motives. Steph answers, saying they signed Rousey because she’s a big star and signing her was best for business. Steph has a question for Rousey. She wants to know who ROusey thinks she is. Angle answers, saying Rousey is the woman who’s going to make Stephanie tap out on Sunday.

Triple H says all of Rousey’s success in MMA means nothing in WWE. Rousey has been dreaming of getting to the WWE her whole life, but the WWE is life for Steph and Triple H. Triple H says it’s a foregone conclusion that Rousey will lose on Sunday.

Coach finally gets to ask his first question. He asks Steph and Triple H how things will change if they win. Steph says they will win, and the locker room will learn respect from their victory. Coach’s second question is for Angle. How does Angle feel about teaming with Rousey. Angle seems excited.

Coach asks for some final thoughts. Steph tells Rousey that she chose this path. She chose to have a loss in her first WWE match, and the world will soon learn how she handles losses. Rousey asks Steph if she’s right or left handed because she still wants Steph to be able to sign her checks after Rousey rips her arm off.

Coach finishes by asking for a photo of everyone. The four combatants come together in the center of the ring. Angle and Triple H begrudgingly shake hands. Steph offers her hand to Rousey, but Rousey balks. They begin to argue so Angle steps in-between them. Triple H hits Angle in the back of the head with a microphone, and Stephanie slams Rousey through a table.

Video
This Sunday, Daniel Bryan returns to the ring when he teams with Shane McMahon to face the team of Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens.

 

Match 1
Sonya Deville w/ Mandy Rose, Paige vs Bayley
(referee: Chad Patton)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Bayley wins vis pinfall with a schoolboy
Time: 6:20 (1 break)

Match Thoughts
Pretty good match. There were a few moments where it seemed like communication broke down, but overall this wasn’t bad. Bayley was clearly frustrated in this match, and that frustration came through as aggression. It also might have caused her to lose focus though. It makes sense for her character, and I think it makes things interesting heading into Wrestlemania.

 

Ring Area
Absolution attacks Bayley after the match. Sasha Banks runs down to the ring and helps Bayley fight off Deville and Rose. With Absolution out of the ring, Banks tells Bayley to raise her hand. Bayley tells Banks that she didn’t want her help, but Banks keeps telling Bayley to raise Banks’ hand. Bayley attacks Banks. As they brawl, Deville and Rose get back into the ring and take out both Bayley and Banks.

Video
Asuka has been undefeated for 908 days and there is no end in sight.

 

Match 2
Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins
(referee: Dan Engler; guest commentary: The Miz)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Seth Rollins wins via pinfall after a curb stomp
Time: 15:41 (2 breaks)

Match Thoughts
Great match! Rollins and Balor put a lot into this match. This was definitely PPV quality, and I would have been fine with this being a Wrestlemania match. It built up to a great finish with multiple counters and reversals of signature moves, and more than a few false finished. You could feel the excitement build in the crowd, and I was getting more and more excited watching it.

 

Video
A package video showing the crossing paths of Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns.

Backstage
Kurt Angle tells Paul Heyman that the most important thing tonight is to protect the main event of Wrestlemania. He doesn’t want Heyman to say anything that will provoke Reigns to injure Lesnar. Heyman thinks that’s funny. Regardless, Angle just wants Heyman to keep things civil.

Ring Area
Cesaro & Sheamus head to the ring. They don’t care who Strowman chooses for a partner at Wrestlemania. It doesn’t matter who his partner is, because they’re having a tag team match. At some point, Strowman wil have to tag his partner. He’ll also have to have a plan. Cesaro and Sheamus don’t think Strowman will ever be able to form a team as unified as The Bar.

Braun Strowman comes out to the stage. Strowman admits that he doesn’t play well with others. He did get a partner though. His partner doesn’t appreciate what The Bar was saying. Cesaro wants Strowman’s partner to say what he has to say to their faces. Strowman says he will, but only if he can have a match with one of the members of The Bar. The Bar agrees, so Strowman goes to get his partner.

Strowman comes back out wearing glasses and a white shirt. He says he is Braun’s brother, Brains. Strowman heads to the ring and promptly gets attacked by The Bar. It doesn’t take long for Strowman to fight off The Bar. Sheamus and Cesaro escape the ring and back away up the ramp.

Video
Goldust says a quote from Andre the Giant in The Princess Bride before saying that he will win the Memorial Battle Royal on Sunday.

Video
Woken Matt Hardy also wants to win the Battle Royal by deleting all of his opponents. Goldust won’t have to wait until Sunday to be deleted though.

 

Match 3
Goldust vs Matt Hardy
(referee: John Cone)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Matt Hardy wins via pinfall after a Twist of Fate
Time: 3:13 (joined in progress)

Match Thoughts
Pretty good match. It was short and the beginning was chopped off by a commercial break, but what we saw was fine.

 

Video
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James make fun of Nia Jax. They call her ugly and fat.

Ring Area
John Cena heads to the ring. Cena says he was wrong. He’s out of time, and there’s still no answer. Therefore, silence means “no.” There will be no Undertaker. Cena did everything he could, but he never got a response.

Cena talks about his losing record in big matches over the past few months. If he entered on of the already established matches, he’d be taking away a spot from someone who deserved it. Undertaker was his last and only chance.

Cena thinks that this year’s Wrestlemania might be the perfect time for a change. Cena is going to ‘Mania as a fan, and he’s proud of it. He’s proud to be able to watch performers like Balor and Rollins steal the show. He’s proud of Daniel Bryan for getting back to where he belongs. He’s proud to see AJ Styles defend the WWE Title at Wrestlemania. He’s also happy that Wrestlemania falls on Rusev Day. He’s proud of whatever Elias will do, and he’s proud of every woman’s match at Wrestlemania.

Cena then apologizes for Undertaker. Cena and the fans have tried to summon The Undertaker in every city recently. Then he remembers that he hasn’t tried here in Atlanta yet. He wonders if the crowd can be loud enough though. He’s not impressed at first, so he tries to get the crowd to cheer louder and louder. After they quiet down, Cena again tells The Undertaker that he is ignoring the fans. ‘Taker might have left his hat in the ring, but he left his balls at home.

Disappointed, John Cena walks away.

Backstage
Kurt Angle asks Roman Reigns to not do anything to jeopardize the Universal Title match. Out of respect for Angle, he’ll try, but if Heyman says anything, Reigns won’t back down. He tells Angle to take the peace treaty he’s attempted to make and sell it at the pawn shop where he sold his gold medals.

Ring Area
Elias is in the ring. Elias is not impressed that the last stop for RAW before Wrestlemania is Atlanta. Atlanta is a dump and a hell hole. Elias begins to play a song, but he is quickly interrupted by Heath Slater’s music.

 

Match 4
Elias vs Heath Slater w/ Rhyno
(referee: Chad Patton)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Elias wins via pinfall after Drift Away
Time: 1:12

Match Thoughts
Slater looked really good and aggressive, but his momentum was quickly and abruptly stopped by Elias. SHort match, but pretty good for what it was.

 

Backstage
Curt Hawkins, wearing a “Pick Me Braun” shirt, wonders if Strowman might want to pick him to be Strowman’s partner at Wrestlemania. Strowman wonders what Hawkins’ win-loss record is. It’s not great, so Strowman throws Hawkins through a wall.

Video
Renee Young has a sit down interview with Nia Jax. Nia says the stuff going on with Alexa has reminded of herself when she was growing up. She says she is happy with herself though. She’s not a goddess, but she is who she is, and she’s comfortable with herself. Still, Alexa’s words did hurt. They hurt Nia’s confidence. Nia is big and strong though. She is confident. She does not feel sorry for herself. She’s proud what she has accomplished.

Speaking directly to Alexa, Nia says Alexa is a pathetic, insecure little girl. At Wrestlemania, Nia will squash Alexa like a bug.

 

Match 5
Mickie James & Alexa Bliss (RAW Women’s Champ) vs Dana Brooke & Asuka
(referee: Dan Engler)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Asuka forces Mickie James to submit to the Asuka Lock
Time: 7:23 (1 break)

Match Thoughts
Pretty good match. Dana Brooke did alright, but she started to get overwhelmed. Asuka tagged in and took over. The match went about as expected, but I liked it.

 

Ring Area
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James attack Asuka after the match. Dana Brooke tries to help Asuka, but she quickly gets taken down. Nia Jax runs to the ring. Bliss and James scatter, but Jax catches Bliss by the hair. James attacks Jax which allows Bliss to escape. James is not so lucky though. Nia Jax takes out her frustrations on Mickie James while Alexa Bliss watches.

Backstage
Kurt Angle is worried about Lesnar and Heyman heading to the ring, but Heyman assures everything he says about Reigns will be positive.

Ring Area
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman head to the ring. A group of superstars stand on the ramp, apparently watching for Roman Reigns. Heyman is unimpressed. Heyman goes on to tell the truth. The two men who have defeated The Undertaker at Wrestlemania will compete, and Reigns will not win. If something incredibly unusual happens and Lesnar doesn’t win, it will be the last time we see Heyman and Lesnar on WWE TV.

Reigns isn’t the “big dog” when he faces Lesnar, he’s just another notch in Lesnar’s belt. Reigns is just “Lesnar’s bitch.”

Roman Reigns comes out, but the superstars on the ramp stand in his way. Reigns asks them if they, as full-time talent, are going to protect “that part-time bastard.” After a few moments of discussion, the superstars move aside and let Reigns through. Reigns walks to the ring.

Reigns stares at Lesnar from the floor, thinks about it, then enters the ring. Lesnar and Reigns circle each other for a few seconds before Lesnar slides out of the ring. Lesnar picks up a chair and get back into the ring. Reigns surprises Lesnar with a series of punches. With Lesnar down, Reigns holds the Universal Title in the air. Reigns takes too long, allowing Lesnar to hit Reigns with an F5.

 

Show Impressions
I think this was a good final RAW before Wrestlemania. There was one great match, and though the rest of the matches weren’t anything special and didn’t mean much, all the story lines were appropriately touched upon before the big show. It didn’t necessarily get me any more or less excited for anything, but I thought pretty much everything was well done.

Match of the Night
Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins
Yep, great match.

 

Official Results:http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/2018-04-02

 

 

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