WWE Raw 1/23/17 took place at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena, and if you missed it and wanted some spoilers, or if you just enjoy reading recaps and commentary, the Inquisitr has got you covered.
As Philadelphia Inquirer Wrestling writer Vaughn Johnson notes, Monday night's episode, along with Tuesday's upcoming WWE Smackdown Live, are meant to set the table for the main event; Sunday's pay-per-view-only Royal Rumble, which will take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
The 30-man #RoyalRumble match has gotten even BIGGER after Monday Night #RAW! WHO is going to @WrestleMania?! https://t.co/ZCHveOQ2XO pic.twitter.com/QGwumspXttEven though it was largely intended as a placeholder event for a much bigger event a few days later, Monday's WWE Raw did not disappoint.
— WWE (@WWE) January 24, 2017
Pre-Fight Smack Talk: Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens, and Chris Jericho
Reigns entered the ring where the Shark Cage had been set up and told the crowd that he's ready to vie for the Universal Championship. Owens and Jericho stepped in and exchanged some rather unpleasant pleasantries with Reigns. Jericho suggested a rematch for the United States Championship, and Owens accepted on Reigns' behalf.
Luke Gallows vs. Cesaro
A quick and uneventful fight, broken up by a commercial break. Gallows won by a pin at 8:52.
Backstage Drama: Mick Foley Talks To Stephanie McMahon
Foley called up Stephanie McMahon and put her on speakerphone so the crowd could hear the conversation. Zayn interrupted and asked for a spot in the upcoming Royal Rumble. Stephanie explained to Foley that if Zayn wanted a spot, he'd have to earn it, which he could do by beating Rollins. Foley then explained this to Rollins.
Sami Zayn vs. Seth Rollins
Another fight interrupted by a commercial break. Both men traded back and forth barbs early, but in the end, Zayn defeated a distracted Rollins with a roll-up for the win, at 16:04.
This was awesome last night Rollins an Zayn flying high. #RAW pic.twitter.com/35bmoLW1Fu411 Mania writer Larry Csonka says that Rollins will still come out OK even though he lost the match.
— Best Of Rollins (@BestOfSRollins) January 17, 2017
"Rollins doesn't need to be in the Rumble because he's facing Triple H at Mania; this adds some much needed heat to that feud (which it lacked due to Triple H's absence), as Triple H f***s him again."Drew Gulak, Tony Nese and, Ariya Daivari vs. TJ Perkins, Mustafa Ali, and Jack Gallagher
A "mid-card" match that meant nothing. Ali, Gallagher, and Perkins' team won when Ali, in his Raw debut, put a 450 on Gulak.
Between-Fight Trash Talk
The New Day came out to boast that one of them is going to win the Royal Rumble this weekend and will then be Universal Champion. Then Enzo Amore and Big Cass said they're entering the Royal Rumble, followed by Rusev, Lana, and Jinder Mahal. Then Titus came out to announce that he's been told there will be an eight-man tag team match and announced that Braun Strowman would be his team's eighth man.
New Day, Enzo, and Cass vs. Rusev, O'Neil, Jinder, and Braun
Another lackluster mid-card match, which Braun's team won with a pin at 4:30.
Roman Reigns vs. Chris Jericho in the United States Championship Match
Kevin Owens acted as the commentator for this match until he got frustrated and entered the ring. This got Jericho disqualified, giving Reigns the win.
With Reigns still in the ring, the Shark Cage is lowered, trapping Reigns inside. Roman managed to blast his way out of the cage, and Csonka explained the mayhem that followed.
"Reigns locks Owens in the cage and has it raised as Jericho tries to hang on, but he eats a superman punch. Reigns then laid out Jericho with the spear. This was solid build for the Universal title match, but I feel it would have meant more if these three hadn't had so many segments/matches with each other so often."Nia Jax vs. Rae Lynn; Rich Swann vs. Noam Dar
In the final time-killers before the main event, Jax defeated Ray Lyn at 0:33 with a pin, and Swann defeated Dar at 5:55, also with a pin.
What Everyone Came To See: Goldberg's Trash Talk
A sweaty and bloody Goldberg entered the ring to hype up the crowd about the upcoming Royal Rumble. Csonka explained what transpired.
"Goldberg then flubbed his lines, jokingly blaming the crowd cheering for him... Paul Heyman then arrived; hyped up the Rumble and the various pairings we could see in the match. He of course teases Goldberg vs. Lesnar, and Lesnar is here. Heyman promised that Lesnar would defeat and conquer Goldberg; the only man that will eliminate Goldberg is Lesnar. Goldberg calls on Lesnar and calls him a dumb a**."Then, thanks to some special effects, the bell sounded, and Lesnar appeared in the middle of the ring. The camera cuts away with the three men staring each other down.
*GONG* The #Undertaker is HERE!!! #RAW #RoyalRumble @BrockLesnar @Goldberg pic.twitter.com/rTOdq5IkFIAll will be revealed, it seems, at Royal Rumble.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) January 24, 2017
By just about any measure, Monday night's WWE Raw was a solid, if lackluster, outing that did little to set the stage for Royal Rumble. Whether or not the hype at the end worked with Goldberg and Lesnar trying to get the drop on each other, we'll leave to the audience.
What did you think of 1/23/17's WWE Raw?
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]