WWE Raw 04/24/17 is the go home show for the Raw exclusive (except for those matches with SmackDown Superstars) Payback PPV this Sunday from San Jose, CA.
So, a quick programming note for the site – I’m not sure if there will be a Raw recap next week. I’ll be at the May 1st Raw but, unlike No Mercy, I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to want to have to re-watch Raw (after sitting through it live) to do a proper recap. It may just end up being some notes from my live experience and a brief rating of each match. We’ll see how hyped up I am when I get home. Either way, it looks like I have a killer seat, so I’ll attempt to update with photos and the happenings next Monday on the Turn Heel Twitter.
That said – on to this week’s Raw. The big reveal all the way back on Saturday was that Kurt Angle made a “Dumpster Match” between Kalisto and Braun Strowman. The internet rejoiced at the absurdity of it all .
Other than that, it’s a “go home” Raw so expect some tag team matches and a bunch of promos!
WWE Raw 04/24/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a dramatic video package detailing the rise of Braun Strowman – specifically his dismantling of Roman Reigns, with Kalisto winding up in a dumpster along the way.
Updated Raw opening credits, pyro, and we’re live from Kansas City. Cole’s mic is in the red and we’re welcomed to Raw. Graves is still here as the lone beacon of sanity on WWE commentary, and Otunga is still replaced by Booker T this week.
Later tonight? It’s garbage day as someone is going into a dumpster!
Jericho opens the show with what he bills as the “final Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel on Raw”. That’s because he’s going to beat his former BFF on Sunday, become the new United States Champion, and punch his ticket to SmackDown. Jericho puts over the “Friends of Jericho” (cheer him on, maaaan) and announces his Highlight Reel guest is himself, making him the “guest of Jericho” (chat him up maaaan). Jericho proceeds to bury KO’s looks comparing him to the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Grumpy Cat. Jericho claims that KO isn’t the “face of America” but is actually the “hemorrhoid of America”. Jericho is about to add Owens to the list again when Miz and Maryse interrupt.
Miz and Maryse hit the ring, Miz gets cheap heat on Kansas City, and says Raw is now all about the “It Couple”. This, of course, leads into Jericho’s “It” bit. Next thing you know, Miz has commandeered the talk show and is ordering the ring crew to remove the Jericho set and set up Miz TV. They do, including a bit where Jericho won’t move as a stage hand is attempting to roll up the carpet. As soon as Miz can attempt to introduce Miz TV, Ambrose’s music hits.
Dean hits the ring and aligns himself with Jericho by way of agreeing with him that Miz is a “stupid idiot”. Miz claims that Jericho never called him a stupid idiot. Dean is aware but he knew that Jericho was thinking it – something Jericho immediately confirms. Dean say he’ll fix this whole thing and once again the ring crew is summoned for a set change.
This time we’re getting the Ambrose Asylum with Dean’s guest Chris Jericho – and Miz and Maryse (since they were “already out there”). Dean admits he and Jericho have a checkered past but he wants to move past that. Ambrose’s plant getting smashed is referenced. As is Jericho’s $15,000 jacket getting destroyed and Dean still owing Jericho for that. But no worries! Dean has a gift for Jericho. Y2J retains legendary status for referencing the Festival of Friendship with a line about the last time he got a gift it not going so well for him. However, no sneak attacks. Dean has taken a gray blazer and affixed Christmas tree lights to it in a “Dean Ambrose attempt” at mending fences. Dean wants Jericho to “try it on maaaaaan” but Miz starts yelling “No”. This gets the crowd chanting “Yes”. Miz cuts a promo on the jacket and claims it’s a metaphor for how low the IC Title has sunk with Dean holding it. Miz says he should be the one with the Raw Superstars “lining up” to give him gifts for gracing Raw with his presence. Dean has a gift for Miz – a Dirty Deeds.
After hitting his finisher, Dean bails. Jericho asks Maryse if she knows what happens to someone when they’re married to the Miz. What happens is you make the List of Jericho!
Meanwhile, the Hardy Menz are backstage… walking. Matt faces Sheamus… next!
Back from break, Sheamus and Cesaro are already half way to the ring. The Hardys are out next.
Match #1: Matt Hardy (w/ Jeff Hardy) vs. Sheamus (w/ Cesaro)
The yang to last week’s Jeff Hardy vs. Cesaro yin. They definitely booked the singles breakdown of this tag feud correctly as Jeff and Cesaro were great last week. This match between Matt and Sheamus is good enough for what it needed to be. Matt starts off strong after hitting a Side Effect on the apron. But, Sheamus grinds back into control. Matt seemed the most over in this match whenever he dropped into the “Broken” character. It may just be me, but the “nostalgia pop” for the original style Hardys feels like it is almost over and we need to move on to the Broken stuff sooner rather than later. After last week’s more civil affair, things begin to break down outside as Jeff and Cesaro both get involved to a minor degree. An argument outside the ring between Jeff and Cesaro distracts Sheamus long enough for him to walk into a Twist of Fate and take the loss.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Not as great as last week’s singles match from this Payback feud. That said, the cracks have begun to form on this “mutual respect” thing so I’m already anticipating something to go down on Sunday.
Post-match, Cesaro is livid and Matt and Jeff – and even Sheamus attempt to calm him down. After a brief delay, everyone ends up shaking hands. This could either be seeds to telegraph a Sheasaro turn and a Hardy loss on Sunday, or could end up being much ado about nothing.
Meanwhile, Kurt is on the phone backstage putting over the dumpster match. Since Kurt is on a landline, Miz is able to hang it up behind Kurt’s back. Miz and Maryse are angry about Ambrose and Jericho. Kurt reminds Miz that things on Kurt Angle’s Raw are settled in the ring. He makes a tag match between Ambrose & Jericho and Miz and whoever he can find as a partner. Maryse cuts a promo in French at Kurt and leaves. Kurt gestures wildly and adds “Oh yeah? Right back atcha!”
Back from break, Neville’s pyro hits and he’s out. Neville is tagging with Perkins here. T.J. is out (w/ babyface entrance & 205 Live footage). Jack Gallagher enters first for the face team. Austin Aries enters last. A brawl breaks out to start and Gallagher and Aries clear the ring as we go to break.
Match #2: Neville & T.J. Perkins vs. Jack Gallagher & Austin Aries
Nothing really of note here beyond more of Perkins and Neville working together. Gallagher drops another head butt as he does. Beyond that, this felt like the token gesture to promote the Cruiserweight match for Sunday. Complete with Aries hitting his finisher and going over clean – on Perkins, of course.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Not great, not terrible. Just the kind of standard filler we’ve come to expect on a three-hour show.
Up next? Dumpster match!
Back from break, the dumpster has already entered and is placed next to the ring apron. We learn that the winner must dump their opponent in the dumpster to end the match. That wording appears to be carefully chosen, because I vaguely remember the stipulation used to be having to close the lid too. Anyway, Braun is out first. He cuts a promo saying he considers everyone in the arena to be trash and when he stuffs Kalisto into the bin, it’ll be just like he’s stuffing the audience in there too. Also, Roman Reigns.
We’re sent backstage and Kurt Angle is attempting to talk Kalisto out of working the match. Kalisto now has a mask that looks like it was secreted out of Drago on Lucha Underground’s mask stash. Kalisto tells Kurt he’s a man and is not garbage. Kalisto heads to the ring (w/ new entrance music). The new music isn’t terrible but it feels like a lateral move from the Lucha Dragons music he’s used for a while now.
Match #3: Braun Strowman vs. Kalisto (Dumpster Match)
This was only ever going to go one of three ways. Either a Braun squash, a surprise Kalisto win, or a Roman Reigns intervention. WWE decided to go with the shocking Kalisto win but managed to make it not very effective in building Kalisto in any fashion. The match proper consists of Kalisto taking a billion bumps for Braun and then being able to mule kick Braun from the apron into the dumpster. Braun even lands feet first in the dumpster and is only up to his waist or thereabouts. Since the “close the lid” stipulation is randomly not in effect Kalisto “wins”.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – A dumpster fire! Okay, maybe not that bad. But, this really did nothing for either guy. It kills Braun’s momentum into Payback (which will likely get squashed down further by Reigns) and Kalisto will now have to be gone for weeks to sell this.
Post-match, Braun beats Kalisto around the ring, around the outside, and finally tosses him in the dumpster and closes the lid. Braun rolls the dumpster up to the stage and officials and refs come out to attempt to talk Braun out of what he’s about to do. Braun ignores them and straps the lid of the dumpster closed. He then acts likes he going to leave, but comes back out and shoves the dumpster off the stage. After the ambulance thing, this is a very uninteresting visual. That, of course, doesn’t stop WWE from showing it over and over again the rest of the evening.
Back from break, we see dumpster match highlights. Back live, we’re shown Kalisto getting strapped to a backboard and being tended to by EMTs. And herein lies my problem with them booking Kalisto to win and then doing this. To “sell” this, Kalisto will have to be off TV for weeks. Unless this is Kalisto’s “out” to re-debut him in the Cruiserweight Division, I don’t see how this helps him. Braun loses and Kalisto gets destroyed. Looks like a “lose / lose” to me. Braun gets a bit of heat back with the “dumpster off the stage” spot but man… I’d have rather he just obliterated Kalisto outright.
Next, in case you missed the last five years of WWE programming – here’s a video package explaining who Roman Reigns is.
Immediately following that, Bray Wyatt’s stinger hits. We get the final smoky room promo on Raw heading into the House of Horrors match. I wonder if they’ve figured out what that match will be yet? My guess is – maybe.
Back from break, Dana Brooke is out for a match. She’s facing Alicia Fox who is already in the ring.
Match #4: Alicia Fox vs. Dana Brooke
I suppose working a squash match and losing is slightly better than being a McGuffin for the Cruiserweight Division men to fight over. The most notable thing that happens here is Emma wanders to the ring and watches Brooke dismantle Fox in short order.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Great to see Fox and Brooke working matches on TV again, but this needed to get way more time to rank anything higher than a “Thumbs Down” squash.
Post-match, Emma gets in the ring and gives Dana a giant hug. Dana appears annoyed and confused by this – as am I.
Meanwhile, Michael Cole has crashed and is in need of a reboot. Thankfully, the guys in the truck notice this and the MaggleBot 9000 wakes up in time to help his possibly human cohorts shill the Network ahead of Payback. I’m not even joking. Cole looks legit asleep for several seconds of live TV before miraculously springing to life. It was weird.
Next, Charly is backstage with the motley crew of Samoa Joe and Gallows & Anderson. From this we learn that Samoa Joe is a “good brother”, Enzo Amore is a “butt nugget” and Rollins, Enzo, and Cass are all “nerds”. The segment ends with Joe barely giving a “too sweet” to Gallows & Anderson.
Back from break, Enzo & Cass’ music hits. They’re out with the standard spiel until Gallows and Anderson save us by attacking Enzo as he gets to ring side. We learn that Joe has neutralized Cass up on the stage area. Enzo eats a Magic Killer on the floor. This brings out Rollins who gets caught up in a three on one brawl. Cass returns to help Rollins clear the ring of the heels. WWE Officials (I see you Jamie Noble!) are out to check on Enzo as we go to break.
Back from break, “-dicap match” says Kurt Angle as the beginning of his speech was cut off. Apparently, Kurt is out on the stage to say this won’t be a handicap match and he has a replacement in mind for Enzo. Enter Finn “Creative Has Very Little For You” Balor. Seriously, dude’s role since coming back is to be the “mystery partner”. A six man brawl begins to start the match.
Match #5: Seth Rollins, Big Cass, & Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe, Luke Gallows, & Karl Anderson
This match is notable for two things. One, the seemingly obvious Balor heel turn to join Gallows and Anderson didn’t happen, so his inclusion here made absolutely zero storyline sense. The second thing of note was Rollins deciding against hitting Anderson with a Pedigree for the win, and opting for a knee strike that my Twitter timeline suggests was ripped off from Kenny Omega. The MaggleBot 9000 chimes in at that moment to remind us that the Pedigree is an “old Triple H move”. You know, just in case you’re joining us late after last watching Raw in 1996. I don’t think that reboot of the MaggleBot 9000 has finished yet, but this show is LIVE! so we’ll make do. Oh, and this is the standard “we got a PPV soon so here’s six random guys” match we always get on “go home” shows.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – No Enzo and Rollins’ existential crisis over which finisher to use bumps this one up out of “Thumbs Down” territory.
Meanwhile, we see Miz attempting to recruit Sheamus as a tag team partner. Sheamus isn’t going for it. Sheesh, Miz. Maybe try hitting up guys that haven’t already worked a match tonight? Who is he going to try next? Samoa Joe?
Meanwhile, Alexa Bliss is here… and she’s… walking!
Back from break, Alexa is out and she cuts a promo on the entire women’s division. She then zeroes in on Bayley – specifically going after the women in the back who come out and talk about their “childhood dream”. The crowd starts “What”ing Alexa and she shuts that down by saying “Alexa Bliss is the best say what” and the crowd says “What” again. Excellent. She is so good on the mic. Alexa claims she’s going to take Bayley’s title on Sunday.
This brings out Bayley. She hits the ring and accuses Alexa of being the type of woman who talks smack behind your back and never to your face. Bayley isn’t stupid and knows Alexa was talking about her earlier. Somehow this devolves into Alexa claiming she’s going to embarrass Bayley in her hometown and Alexa asking Bayley if she’s “ever kissed a boy”. Talk about a non sequitur.
Sasha Banks is out to save (?) this segment. I add the (?) because Sasha and Bayley combined still can’t really match Alexa Bliss on the mic. Sasha’s contribution is her standard defense of Bayley and adding that Alexa has a match with her tonight. Alexa claims that Sasha is “unhinged” and she doesn’t feel safe working a match with Sasha. Banks’ response is to punch Alexa in the head – so I suppose Alexa had a legit claim. Where is Kurt Angle? Where is Human Resources Ashley (bet you thought I forgot about her!)? Alexa sells anger on the aisle as we head to break.
Back from break, the match starts. Bayley has joined commentary.
Match #6: Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss
Before anything can really happen in this match, Alexa takes a powder and heads to the back. Banks wins by count out.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Nope.
Post-match, Bayley leaves commentary and tries to drag Alexa back to the ring. Alexa escapes, ends up dropping Bayley from behind, and then flees to the back to avoid the wrath of Banks. What are we even doing here? This is the final segment to hype a PPV title match?
Meanwhile, Ambrose and Jericho are hanging out in the locker room. Dean wants to move past their sordid history and asks to be removed from the List. Jericho can’t erase someone because he writes the List in pen. Besides, why would Jericho remove him when Dean still owes him $15k for the light up jacket? Dean claims the new jacket is almost the same thing. Jericho ups the ante mentioning the 69 thumbtacks he had to pull out of his body after their Asylum Match. But, Jericho says he acknowledges that Dean attempted to make good with the new jacket tonight – so Dean has “unmade” the List! Dean is hyped up and slaps Jericho on the shoulders a few times before leaving. Jericho secretly adds Dean back onto the List and we go to break.
Back from break, our WWE Payback 2017 Kickoff Show is sorted out! Yay, maybe I can get the Payback Drinking Game out even earlier this week than I’d planned. We’re getting Enzo & Cass vs. Gallows & Anderson and Miz TV will be happening with special guest Finn “This is seriously the best creative could come up with” Balor. Take a shot if Ambrose crashes that Miz TV episode…
Backstage, Charly is having a sit down interview with Heath Slater and Curtis Axel about the Marine 5. Strangely, no Bo Dallas. Miz and Maryse enter and Miz makes the play to have either of them as his tag partner tonight and they can fight over who gets the spot. Heath already has a partner – enter Saltines and E-Z Cheese eating Rhyno – and Axel also appears to be uninterested. That’s saying something when the guy who hasn’t been on TV in months doesn’t want to be your tag team partner. Miz claims they’ll “never work in this town again” to which Axel asks “Kansas City”. Miz, exasperated, meant Hollywood. Maryse starts cutting a promo putting her and Miz over and Rhyno comes over to offer her some cheese and crackers. Maryse wants none of this and slaps the plate out of Rhyno’s hands. About this time, Miz receives a note that tells him who his partner will be and he seems pleased.
Meanwhile, Curt Hawkins is already in the ring for another “Curt Hawkins Star Factory” segment. This week’s lucky squash victor is… Apollo Crews who is out to no reaction! Remember when this program was an actual house show / undercard thing at SmackDown Live last year?
Match #7: Apollo Crews vs. Curt Hawkins
Crews squashes Hawkins and wins with his spinning sitout powerbomb finisher.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Hey, Apollo Crews looks great in the ring, again, and I have no reason to care about him, still.
Post-match, Titus O’Neil comes out and starts raising Apollo’s hand in victory. Apollo sells “confusion” while Titus takes a selfie with Crews. It’s sad this is the most character development given to the Crews character since he debuted in NXT.
Next, MaggleBot 9000 shows us footage of Kalisto getting savaged by Braun. We learn that Kalisto is at a hospital. My God, someone said the word “hospital” on WWE programming. I think that wasn’t a hard crash of the MaggleBot, I think it’s been infiltrated with malware so the WWE commentary uses actual every day words that actual humans use. Quick, we need to pull the MaggleBot from the field and reinstall from an archived back up immediately!
Back from break, we learn that Kalisto has sustained hip and cervical trauma. A bunch of people on my Twitter feed lose their minds at this and think that “cervical” = “cervix”. Nah. His neck guys. His neck.
Next, we see a still of an interview that Reigns gave about losing his brother last week.
We’re then sent to a video package on the Strowman / Reigns feud.
Meanwhile, Kurt Angle is talking to Austin Aries (w/ two bananas). Aries gives Kurt one of the bananas and leaves. Kurt happens upon Miz and asks if he found a partner. Miz says that one found him and Kurt will feel sorry for Ambrose and Jericho. At that moment, Elias Samson “drifts” by. Kurt says that was an “interesting choice” and Miz says he doesn’t know the Drifter and it’s definitely not him. Kurt wishes Miz good luck, Miz says he won’t need. As they part ways they trade “I won’t need luck” “yes you will” comments.
Back from break, we learn that tomorrow’s 205 Live will feature Neville vs. Jack Gallagher.
Ambrose is out first for the main event. Jericho (w/ Christmas Tree Light Jacket) is out next. Miz and Maryse enter and Miz announces that his partner has a flair for dramatics. Miz announces the partner and – nothing. He tries again – still nothing. Miz claims his partner is late so the match has to be cancelled. Miz starts to leave the ring when Angle’s music hits.
Kurt says that whether Miz has a partner or not, the match will happen and leaves.
Match #8: The Miz (w/ Maryse) vs. Dean Ambrose & Chris Jericho (Handicap Match)
So, this is not a very effective handicap match. The key to a good handicap match is to have an underdog babyface attempt to beat the odds. Instead, we have a braggart heel get a bunch of bad stuff done to him. After taking a bunch of abuse from Jericho and Dean, Miz attempts to leave to the back. Dean intercepts him and they brawl over to the announce table. Dean has the upper hand and sets Miz up for a Dirty Deeds on the table when…
Verdict: Thumbs Down – I’ll call the match here because there is never a final bell and literally zero from this point on makes any sense.
The Wyatt stinger hits. When the lights come back up, Bray has replaced Miz on the table. Dean ends up eating a Sister Abigail into the LED board by the stage. Miz and Bray team up to drag Jericho back into the ring. Bray hits a Sister Abigail on Jericho. And the show just sort of ends. Miz goes to tap Bray on the shoulder while celebrating and Bray hits him with a Sister Abigail as we go off the air.
Huh? So, Bray has the feud with Orton still going on, a feud with Balor, now potentially feuds with Ambrose, Jericho, AND The Miz. Meanwhile, the IC Title isn’t defended on the Raw “exclusive” PPV but the SmackDown U.S. Title is, and the SmackDown top champ is working a match. This makes no sense. The closest thing that makes any sense is that this is a last-ditch effort to make Bray look strong going into the House of Horrors match – booking sense and current Raw storylines be damned!
Wow. What a weird and confusing show this week.