With work I’m a little delayed in posting my reviews on the day of. Also my WWE Network on-demand has been down and so I’m unsure when I’ll be able to resume my reviews.
Kicking off this heavily promoted Thursday RAW Thursday we have Rocky Maivia making his way to the ring for an Intercontinental Championship match versus Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Vince announces at the commentary table that tonight Shawn Michaels would be vacating the WWE Championship. Honky Tonk Man is also at the commentary table as he continues his search for a protege. Given that Brian Kendrick is presently seeking a protege I’d have to say this gimmick is rather boring unless there is a reveal of a new superstar.
This was a rather basic match between the two with Hunter leading Rocky through the match. You can hear “Rocky Sucks” chants which were perfect for the change of the direction in Rock’s career. I see Apollo Crews in a similar role; I’m not sure if he needs a full heel run but depth to a character is necessary to for any superstar to move up a level. Maivia picks up the win with a roll-up and is the new Intercontinental Champion!
Next up we have Sunny making her way ringside to be the ring announcer for the next match. It is the Headbangers versus Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly and Aldo Montoya, a few gimmicks left from the mid 90s. The Headbangers who made a come back to SmackDown displayed that their characters do not age well in 2017. Headbangers win this one.
Up next we have the infamous “Lost my smile” promo from Shawn Michaels who was forced to relinquish the WWE Championship due to an injury. Michaels teases that this may be career ending injury and doesn’t know what’s next. You can see many fans (mostly women) crying and shaking their heads in denial. Now much has been made of the segment over the years. I can only say that in doing these reviews, Shawn has only competed at the Royal Rumble since so perhaps this is an injury that had been lingering but the timing is very peculiar in my opinion.
Undertaker defeated Savio Vega in a boring match that at least didn’t end with a DQ finish as most Nation matches have recently. Undertaker hits a double chokeslam on JC Ice and Wolfie D (the two rappers). Ahmed Johnson attempts a save but is attacked and beaten down by the NOD.
Gorilla Monsoon announces that this Sunday’s Final Four match will now be for the WWE Championship. Doc Hendrix notes Sycho Sid is still due a rematch and Monsoon announces that on the RAW after the Final Four, Sid will face the champion, whomever that is. AJ Styles would approve this as its a one-on-one rematch rather than being thrown into a multi man match.
Sid versus Steve Austin is next however it ends in a no contest. Bret attacks Austin, Sid attacks Bret. In the era of match rate it’s hard to sit through some of these matches that are short brawls. What I can appreciate is that everyone continues to look upset and just wants to destroy one another.
There is a Vader promo backstage where he notes he’s defeated everyone in the Final Four and so should be considered the favourite this Sunday. This certainly wouldn’t win promo of the year but the Final Four continues to be hyped very well.
Faarooq and Crush versus the Bulldog and Owen ends in a countout. The story here is that a lot of Owen’s antics and actions led to the Bulldog being double teamed by the NOD, thus adding to Davey Boy’s frustrations with Owen.
As we approach the main event, Bret reacts to Shawn’s announcement earlier in the evening. Bret is complimentary of Shawn’s career and says he believes Shawn will be back. Bret being a babyface at the time probably couldn’t give his true feelings. Bret and Vader meet next. Prior to the match Austin attacks Bret in retribution for Bret’s attack on him previously. Undertaker also comes out and says the men in the Final Four will rest in peace. Austin in the crowd still seeks to distract Bret as this is a small venue and Austin is within eye shot. Vader goes for a moonsault but misses and Bret pins Vader.
Overall, Thursday RAW Thursday did not live up to the hype and promotion it had received. It’s funny that the week prior they were ripping on WCW programming promising and not delivering and here we are with no title match. Shawn’s announcement is the only thing of merit as it impacted the direction going into Wrestlemania. As noted, I hated the no decisions and count out finishes. Lastly, this episode can be noted as the beginning of Rock/Triple H matches and there were some classics in this feud!