Sometimes wrestling hits just the right notes to send you through an emotional journey. On RAW Monday night, it managed to hit the right notes twice, sending viewers on a plunge into despair before giving us a wonderful happy ending as Bayley won the Women's Title to end the show.
Let's start with the happy ending though. Yes, Bayley finally was able to upend Charlotte to win the RAW Women's Title to close out the show this week. We finally got to see the ultimate underdog grasp the belt she was chasing, and as fans, it was hard not to be overjoyed with her. Of course, this win wasn't without some controversy. At the end of the match, after a distraction from Dana Brooke, Charlotte was able to lock Bayley into the Figure-8. It looked like that was going to be it for Bayley, but Sasha Banks came down to ringside. She took out Dana with her crutch before turning her attention toward Charlotte. As the ref closely looked at Bayley to see if she would tap, Sasha was able to hit Charlotte with the crutch. It broke the hold, and made her disoriented enough for Bayley to hit the Bayley-to-Belly for the win.
Of course it was a great moment, but there are some interesting things around the win. For one, the fact that Sasha got so involved is obviously going to be a big issue as we move forward. It could be as simple as it gets Charlotte a rematch. Or, with Stephanie becoming so involved with Bayley and Sasha lately, she could overturn the win next week. It's also interesting that she won the title on a somewhat random RAW, with WrestleMania just weeks away. Many people had tabbed Bayley to win the title on the grandest stage of them all. So is Charlotte losing the title once again on RAW simply a precursor for her to win it back, or is it going to be the start of a legitimate reign for Bayley? Either way, though, it's hard not to live in the moment at least a little bit with this one
Before the high of Bayley's win though, fans had to suffer through a pretty big downer. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens came out for the Festival of Friendship. And it was everything you could want from the two. It was this generation's version of Mankind's This Is Your Life for The Rock. It had Vegas girls, random sculptures and paintings and, of course, the massive return of Gillberg for Kevin Owens to beat up. Chris Jericho bared his soul about how much the friendship meant for him. And then it was time for Kevin Owens to give Jericho his present. He gave Jericho a box, and inside the box was a brand new list. Only it wasn't a new List of Jericho. It was the List of KO, and it had just one name on it: Chris Jericho. Owens attacked, tossed him around ringside, powerbombed it into the apron before capping it off by tossing him into the Jeritron.
I don't think many saw this coming quite this early. We knew Owens and Jericho would fray, and face each other at WrestleMania, but to happen so quickly and to ramp up the violence so quickly was an interesting move. People compared it to Shawn Michaels turning on Marty Jannetty, and for good reason. To have it happen after a segment like the Festival of Friendship fully cements Owens as the dastardly heel, and in turn, gives Jericho the face turn we've been waiting for. It probably puts Jericho on the shelf until after Fastlane, when he can return to challenge Owens on the road to WrestleMania.
So WWE took us through some serious highs and lows Monday. The question remains whether it can capitalize on those emotions now.
The rest of RAW:
- We seemingly had another new match added to the Fastlane card. Samoa Joe did a sit-down interview with Cole, which did a good job of explaining his character and who he is. During it, he mentioned that he wasn't just there to be Sami Zayn, happy to be there without accomplishing much. Later on, Sami Zayn beat Rusev. In the post-match, he cut a promo saying that he's back in the right direction, and called out Samoa Joe. Joe blindsided him and choked him out to end the segment. Clearly Joe was supposed to face Rollins at Fastlane. With Rollins on the shelf, this is a really nice replacement match, both for the fact that it's something we haven't seen much of, even on the indies, and it's two guys who could be fairly prominently involved with WrestleMania.
- Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman continued their game of one-upsmanship. Reigns started the show by getting in the face of Stephanie McMahon, which caused her to book him in a match with the WWE tag champs, Gallows and Anderson. To WWE's credit (I guess?) he didn't cleanly beat the tag champs like we've seen so often in these situations. Instead, the tag champs double teamed him until the ref had to call the DQ. Yes, he ended up standing tall at the end as he attacked after the bell, but at least he didn't win cleanly. Later, Braun Strowman beat Mark Henry. After the match, Reigns came down and tried to take out Braun. He hit him with everything, even taking Strowman down to a knee, but when he went for a Spear, Strowman hit him with a powerslam. Strowman will continue his match against bigger guys as he faces Big Show next week.
- In the cruiserweight division, Jack Gallagher beat Noam Dar in a short match. Neville came out after as they had a staredown, as the two will face for the title soon. Also, the push for Akira Tozawa continues as he beat Ariya Daivari. Tozawa was getting over with his chants, and it looks like he'll get a match with Brian Kendrick soon.
- Emmalina finally made her long-awaited debut. There was a big entrance, she came out with a mic ... and said that we saw the transformation to Emmalina. Oh, and that now we'd get to see as she goes back to Emma. Quite frankly, it felt like Dustin Rhodes coming out on WCW and saying how lame Seven was. But if it gets us Evil Emma back, it's a net-positive.
- Kofi beat Bo Dallas as they try to figure out what to do with The New Day. Meanwhile, in other tag action, Enzo lost in singles action to Cesaro and Sheamus. It'll be interesting to see if they actually pull the trigger on Enzo and Cass as tag champs after moving away from them as a credible title contender for this long.