The 2/13/2017 Raw Reaction takes a look at the Festival of Friendship that brought unexpected results, we’ll also talk about a brand new champion!

Poor Opening Segment

Roman Reigns vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson - 2-on-1 Handicap Match: Raw, Feb. 13, 2017

Must we see Stephanie McMahon open Raw every week with nothing of real note to say? I mean honestly, I don’t think there was much reason for her to even be out there at all. Roman Reigns then came out, then Anderson and Gallows to defend Stephanie. Since when did those two become friends of the boss? That was just puzzling to say the least. This led to a 2 on 1 Handicap Match between the tag champs and Reigns which ended in a DQ win for Reigns, but still saw Reigns stand tall at the end of it. Completely pointless.

From Bad to Worse

Kofi Kingston vs. Bo Dallas: Raw, Feb. 13, 2017

The second segment saw Kofi Kingston defeat Bo Dallas after talking about him being a social outcast and New Day ice cream. Sigh. After that it was Jack Gallagher getting the win over Noam Dar. If you aren’t sleeping through the show by this point, I applaud you. It does get better, though.

WWE Trolls Everyone

Emmalina finally premieres: Raw, Feb. 13, 2017

Emmalina finally made her debut last night to great anticipation. She said that everyone waited for the makeover from Emma to Emmalina and here she is. Now everyone will see the makeover from Emmalina to Emma. Classic. This was the greatest complete switch ever. There were a lot of angry people on Twitter. I’m glad that Emma is sticking with what made her successful.

Monster vs. Monster

Mark Henry vs. Braun Strowman: Raw, Feb. 13, 2017

Braun Strowman faced Mark Henry in what could have been an interesting match, but it was more of a showcase for Strowman than anything else. Reigns would interfere afterwards and end up beaten down for his trouble. I don’t hate Reigns, but man do I not care about what he is doing. I’m feeling the same thing with Strowman because it has been such a slow build with him. I swear the show gets better!

Samoa Joe’s Intensity

Samoa Joe boasts about reinjuring Seth Rollins: Raw, Feb. 13, 2017

Raw really needed someone like Samoa Joe to come in and give some sense of legitimacy to the brand. You listen to Joe talk and he just sounds like he’s there to beat people up and stake his claim to being one of the best Superstars in the company. He doesn’t want to talk about anyone else. It’s all about Joe.

Joe ended up attacking Sami Zayn after Sami got a good victory over Rusev for Zayn’s comments about him selling out. This is the way you bring someone up from NXT. Joes hasn’t changed a bit from that character and is very much extending what we saw there to the main roster. This has been my big problem with people like Kevin Owens, Tyler Breeze, and Apollo Crews. Those guys were all stripped of what made them unique (besides maybe Crews) and while Owens made the most of it, Breeze has been sitting there in a tag team that isn’t going anywhere. 

My point with everything is that I believe Joe will be extremely successful because he’s being the character he’s always been. Feuding with Sami Zayn will be a great start if that is indeed the direction we’re looking at.

Tozawa and Kendrick

Akira Tozawa vs. Ariya Daivari: Raw, Feb. 13, 2017

I’ll hand it to Brian Kendrick, he’s such an unassuming heel that really entertains me. He’s taking Tozawa under his wing as his protegĂ© and he talked about how the two were so like-minded on commentary. Tozawa beat Daivari in a quick match.

Festival of Friendship

Chris Jericho kicks off the "Festival of Friendship": Raw, Feb. 13, 2017

Well, we all knew that the Festival of Friendship was going to be a big plot point to the Jericho and Owens story, but I don’t think anyone could have guessed that it would be so well done. It reminded me of Mick Foley’s This is Your Life segment for The Rock. Jericho brought out Showgirls, he had a weird painting of he and Kevin, a magician, he brought out Gillberg for Owens to beat up, it was great. It was only at the point where Kevin had a present for Jericho that things went awry. 

Kevin Owens attacks Chris Jericho during the "Festival of Friendship": Raw, Feb. 13, 2017

Kevin handed Chris a gift and it happened to be a new list. It was The List of KO and Jericho’s name was on it. Kevin then proceeded to beat the crap out of Jericho eventually sending him face-first into the Jeritron 6000. The beauty of this segment was that Jericho started to talk about how much the last year has meant to him and how great their friendship was before Owens stabbed him in the back. It was wrestling story-telling at it’s finest and it was easily the best segment this year.

Cesaro and Sheamus Heel Turn?

Enzo Amore vs. Cesaro: Raw, Feb. 13, 2017

Ok, Cesaro and Sheamus are not heels yet, but after their run-ins with Enzo and Big Cass, you have to wonder if it’s coming. It almost makes sense, there aren’t as many heel teams on Raw off the top of my head. Having another one added to the mix would definitely be beneficial. Another short match here and a victory for Cesaro.

Bayley’s Crowning Moment

Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair - Raw Women's Championship Match: Raw, Feb. 13, 2017

I had a weird feeling when it was announced last week that Bayley would receive her Raw Women’s Championship rematch against Charlotte on this week’s episode of Raw. It just felt like Bayley’s time was now. It turns out that that premonition was right. The two girls had a good match and it really looked like Charlotte would prevail using some pretty big brutal moves focusing on Bayley’s neck. Dana Brooke even came out to give Charlotte the advantage, but it was an old friend that evened the score.

Sasha Banks came out to help Bayley get the victory by hitting Charlotte with her crutch which allowed Bayley to hit the Bayley to Belly for the 3-count. What a moment! The crowd was electric and it really felt like an incredible accomplishment for the “fan”.It was so nice to see someone I watched come up through NXT and stay there for longer than she ever should have. Then we watched her wait months before having any big feud to sink her teeth into. By the time she did, it was easy to see that she was ready to be champion. 

It’s hard to understand the timing of this decision. I would have much preferred her to win it at WrestleMania as I think the moment would have been that much more special, but it’s hard to top that feeling on Raw. The last of the Four Horsewomen finally won a main roster women’s title. The emotion was evident on Sasha’s face as much as it was one Bayley’s. These are the moments that make wrestling worth it. This was a girl who ha dreamed of being the Women’s Champion since she was a little girl and there she was, holding that championship in her hands and looking at it with pride. The results are pre-determined, the work it takes to get booked to win is not. Bayley worked hard to have that moment and the crowd shared in the emotion of it all.

The Final Word

All you need to do this week is watch the last hour or so of Raw. The first two were awful and full of filler material that didn’t really matter much at all. There were a few decent things in the first couple hours, but your finger will be on the fast-forward button more often than not. Bayley’s big win and Owens’ big turn on Jericho saved this show from being a complete waste.


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