The Big Takeaway: Brock Lesnar's only appearance on the show was a cameo in the opening segment when he gave Roman Reigns an F-5. Kurt Angle was officially announced as the first member of the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame Class. There was also a rare Dusty Finish where the heels were shortchanged instead of the babyfaces. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows appeared to have won the championships after giving Sheamus a Magic Killer, but instead Sheamus and Cesaro were disqualified after Sheamus had accidentally slugged the referee moments earlier.
This year's Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. tribute video also honored other prominent African-American figures, including Maya Angelou, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Serena Williams, Chris Rock and Barack Obama.
Roman Reigns came out and said as a former member of the Shield, he can't complain about losing the U.S. Championship because he was outnumbered because that was how the Shield became famous. He said Owens would be the one complaining at the Royal Rumble because no one can beat him one-on-one right now. He said he's beating Owens to main event WrestleMania for the third consecutive time.
Paul Heyman walked out and said there is a storm coming tonight because Lesnar is here. Heyman reluctantly stepped in the ring as the fans started chanting "Goldberg." Heyman smugly said Goldberg wasn't here tonight, but he was and he delivered a Royal Rumble match spoiler: "Eat, sleep, elimination from Royal Rumble, repeat." Reigns said Lesnar wasn't with Heyman, he must be eating or sleeping.
Jericho and Owens walked out. Owens scoffed at Reigns and Heyman making WrestleMania plans when he and Jericho were Universal and U.S. Champions. Jericho pronounced themselves "U.S. Universal Champion." Jericho said Owens would beat Reigns at Royal Rumble, he was win the Royal Rumble and then it would be Owens vs. Jericho at WrestleMania. Regardless of who wins, they would still be Universal Champion, which Owens didn't look happy about. Owens said he was the longest reigning Universal Champion in history (beating the record of one day held by Finn Balor) and he would beat Reigns.
Seth Rollins came out and said you can't have a conversation about the main event of WrestleMania without him having a say about this. Rollins said anything can happen in the main event of WrestleMania. Rollins and Reigns had a mean stare. Braun Strowman showed up and had a staredown with Reigns. Then Lesnar's music hit and the crowd came alive as he walked out. As Lesnar watched from ringside, Sami Zayn came out of nowhwere and went after Strowman from behind.
Rollins, Reigns and Zayn knocked Strowman out of the ring. They took care of Strowman in the process with Rollins giving him a knee, Reigns a Superman punch and Zayn the Helluva kick. Lesnar gave a German Suplex to Rollins and Jericho. Lesnar cornered Zayn and gave him a German Suplex. Lesnar had a long staredown with Strowman, but the two never touched. Then Reigns ran in and gave Lesnar a Superman punch. Lesnar barely sold it before he gave Reigns the F5.
Big Cass and Enzo Amore defeated Rusev and Jinder Mahal (8:35)
Enzo Amore, obviously not in a wheelchair this week, made the comeback with a Diving DDT and gave Big Cass the hot tag. Cass gave Jinder Mahal the Empire Elbow. Rusev rushed at Amore but missed and bumped over the top rope. Cass gave Rusev the big boot, sending Rusev to the floor. Amore pinned Mahal with the Bada Boom Shakalaka.
Austin Aries and Jack Gallagher were on commentary. On 205 Live tomorrow night, Gallagher faces Ariya Daivari in an "I forfeit" match, which is the same things as an "I Quit" match, just with different semantics.
Ariya Daivari defeated Lince Dorado via submission (2:14)
Lince Dorado pulled off a handspring stunner that popped the crowd. Dorado missed a crossbody, and Daivari used a clothesline and a cobra clutch for the submission.
They aired footage from earlier today of Sasha Banks working out in the ring trying to recuperate her injured knee. With producers, referees and trainers waching on, Nia Jaxx ran in and attacked Banks, dropping all her weight on Banks' injured knee.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson defeated Raw Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Sheamus by DQ, so Cesaro and Sheamus retain the tag team titles (12:59)
Sheamus gave Luke Gallows Ten Beats of the Bodhran while Cesaro chased Karl Anderson into the ring. As the referee got Cesaro out, Anderson gave Sheamus a dropkick to the knee. Cesaro got the hot tag and gave Anderson the Swiss One Nine and Gallows a plancha. Cesaro delivered the corkscrew springboard uppercut for a near fall on Anderson, then gave Anderson a 6-rep Giant Swing. He attempted the Sharpshooter but Gallows broke it up with a Yakuza Kick, leading to a near fall. Crowd was really into it.
Cesaro gave Gallows a big boot outside the ring, but Anderson hit the Anderson Spinebuster on Cesaro. Sheamus made the save. Sheamus decked Galolows and Anderson, then punched the referee by accident. This led to a Dusty Finish which actually favored the babyfaces. Anderson and Gallows hit the Magic Killer on Cesaro, Anderson covered but no ref. Then a referee ran in and counted the pin. Gallows and Anderson were announced as champions, but the original referee overruled that decision and declared Gallows and Anderson and winners by DQ, allowing Cesaro and Sheamus to retain the titles. Anderson and Gallows gave Sheamus a Magic Killer afterwards. One of Anderson and Gallows best matches since coming to the WWE.
Later tonight, it's Rollins, Reigns and Zayn vs. Strowman, Owens and Jericho.
There was a Jimmy Snuka tribute video featuring appearances from Mick Foley, Tamina, HHH, Rollins and others. The highlight of the package was Snuka's famed job off the cage against the Magnificent Muraco at Madison Square Garden.
Zayn talked with Rollins and Reigns backstage like he was a geek speaking with the two cooler upperclassmen in high school. Zayn stuck out his fist in a failed attempt to salute like the Shield, but Reigns just blew him off, as did Reigns.
Rich Swann vs. Tony Nese never got going as Neville ran out of the crowd to jump Swann. Neville laid in the boots to Swann as referees tried to pull him off. Swann made a comeback with a double leg takedown and started punching Neville. Nese jumped Swann from behind, but Neville pulled Nese off of him and said he was the King of the Cruiserweights. Neville threw Nese over the top rope and laid out Swann with more kicks.
Neville did a backstage interview where he was asked why would he attack Swann when he has a cruiserweight title match against Swann in two weeks? His answer wasn't "Because I have a cruiserweight title match against Swann in two weeks." He called Americans hypocrites and reiterated he was king of the cruiserweights.
This week's New Day segment started with Xavier Woods saying each of them will have a chance to win the most stacked Royal Rumble match of all time. Kofi Kingston brought up Undertaker, Lesnar, Goldberg, etc. Big E. said he heard Royal Rumblings that it will mean foe vs. foe, and Woods said that also means friend vs. friend. Kingston said that means it's every man for himself and looked at his partners in a threatening way. Big E. said if one of them wins the Royal Rumble...."then we all win the Royal Rumble."
Titus O'Neal came out and said he doesn't want to be in the New Day because he wants to replace the New Day, which made them all laugh. O'Neal asked for one of the New Day's spots in the Royal Rumble. Big E. said no. O'Neal challenged one member of the New Day for their spot in the Royal Rumble and told them to huddle up and decide. Kingston said if O'Neal knew when to huddle he would still be playing football. Big E. accepted the challenge and said after tonight, Titus couldn't call them, text them, or show up at their house with a pizza box over his head with a fake mustasche. O'Neal tried to get a "Titus Rocks" chant going, which went nowhere.
Big E. defeated Titus O'Neal to retain his spot in the Royal Rumble (4:43)
O'Neal delivered a Dominator for a near fall, which was impressive for a man Big E.'s size. O'Neal hit a legdrop for a two count. Big E. made his comeback after O'Neal tried again to get a "Titus Rocks" chant going while he had Big E. in an abdominable stretch. Big E. won with the Big Ending.
Charlotte started the third hour with an in-ring interview detailing the secrets to her success. She said she didn't become the Raw Women's Champion overnight, she did it by outworking every opponent she faces. She said when you "average' in the dictionary, you see Bayley. She's average just like all the fans. On the TitanTron, they showed Bayley was a teen posing with John Cena, Rob Van Dam, and Bret Hart. She showed a poem that Bayley wrote as a child. Charlotte said while Bayley was writing poetry, she was getting scholarship offers to play volleyball (at Appalachian State, my alma mater) and training 20 hours a week.
Charlotte showed Bayley in a video reading one of her poems and ending up in tears over it. Charlotte ordered the tape to stop and decided to read Bayley's poem herself. Crowd started chanting for Bayley as Charlotte read. Charlotte said Bayley was never going to beat someone who was born into this business. Bayley finally came out and Charlotte rolled out of the ring. Bayley asked Charlotte what was she doing? It wasn't necessary to bring out old pictures and photos. Charlotte said that's who Bayley is, an average fan. Bayley asked if this was Charlotte's strategy, to embarass her before the biggest match of her life. She wasn't ashamed of the passion she has for WWE.
If Bayley wanted to talk about past stories, she wasn't fortunate enough to have a father who could get her in the WWE with one phone call. Bayley said she did have a father who always got her a ticket to a WWE live event in San Jose, even if he didn't have the money to do so. Bayley said even if she sat down in the back row, she told her father that she was going to be a wrestler someday. Then Bayley started reeling off more poems, like: "Roses are Red, Violets are Blus, at the Royal Rumble, I will defeat you." Then there was: "You've called me a child and you say I don't deserve to walk down that ramp. Well, in two weeks, you can call me your new women's champ." Charlotte posed with the belt while Bayley's music played an inflatables rose up from the ramp.
Owens and Jericho met with Strowman to talk strategy. Jericho said with their brains and his brawn, there was no way that they could lose tonight. Owens said Strowman should beat up Reigns so badly, he puts him out for, say, two weeks. Jericho tried to encourage Strowman to take out Rollins. Strowman said he does what he wants when he wants and doesn't listen to anyone. Tonight, he was going to make Rollins, Zayn and Reigns scream for their lives.
They showed Cedric Alexander breaking up with Alicia Fox after his match with Noam Dar. Fox had the most epic freakout ever.
Cedric Alexander defeated Brian Kendrick (4:42)
Alexander did a split-legged pescado. Dar watched on from backstage with no Fox by his side. Alexander hit a springboard clothesline on Kendrick for a two count and attempte the Lumbar Check, but Kendrick reversed it into the Captain's Hook. Fox ran out. Dar smiled an evil smile, but Fox pushed the ropes to help Alexander break the hold. Alexander slid out of the ring, saw Fox and asked what she was doing there. Kendrick gave Alexander a baseball slide, then attempted the Captain's Hook. But Alexander escaped and hit the Lumbar Check for the pin. Postmatch, Alexander teased hugging Fox, but he ducked under her arms and walked off. Fox looked like a woman scorned as Dar watched on from afar.
Jax watched the footage of her jumping Banks and laughed. She called Banks a wannabe tough girl. The instant she stepped in the ring with a real boss, the hype was over. Jax said she broke the Boss and the people are buzzing about the right woman.
Fox was stopped backstage and was asked by the interviewer. She said she didn't want to talk about it. When the interviewer pressed on, Fox screeched "I don't want to talk about it" in an instant that will be captured in countless memes on Twitter for months to come.
Kurt Angle was named the first member of the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame Class. They showed highlights and played Angle's music, which still gets the "You suck" reaction from fans. Angle will appear on ESPN with Jonathan Coachman Wednesday night.
Goldberg is set for next week's Royal Rumble go-home show from Cleveland.
Braun Stromwan, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho defeated Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns (14:23)
They opened with a tease of the Royal Rumble where Strowman tossed Zayn over the top rope. He also threw Rollins over. Meanwhile, Reigns tossed Jericho and Owens aside. This left Reigns vs. Strowman one-on-one, and Strowman threw out Reigns with ease before the match could officially start.
It was a two hot tag match. Zayn made the first one to Reigns, who was cut off when Strowman grabbed him by the throat and threw him into an Owens superkick. Reigns gave Owens a Samoan Drop and tagged Rollins, who gave Jericho a sling blade and a blockbuster. Rollins gave Jericho a tope where he caught more dasherboard than Jericho. Seconds later, Zayn gave Owens a flip tope that landed perfectly. Then came the biweekly Jericho-Rollins Pedigree/Walls of Jericho tease, which ended with Strowman tagging in. Strowman clubbed Zayn across the chest with a forearm, but Rollins gave Strowman an enzugiri, Reigns followed with a Superman punch, and Zayn came off the top rope for a two count in a great near fall. Meanwhile, Rollins hit a plancha on Jericho and Owens. Zayn went for the Helluva Kick, but Strowman hit a clothesline and pinned Zayn with an Oklahoma Stampede.
Postmatch, Strowman threw Zayn out of the ring and carried him to the announcer's table. Rollins brought out a chair as Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves ran for cover. Rollins jabbed Strowman with the chair in the stomach and the back, then Reigns followed with a spear on the ramp.
Rollins started to clear the announcers table, but Owens and Jericho attacked him and Owens. Then Jericho teased putting Reigns through the table, but Rollins ran in and stopped him. Rollins gave Jericho a Pedigree on the ramp. Owens went crazy with chair shots, demolishing Rollins and Reigns with shots across the back. Owens grabbed Reigns and power bombed him through the announcer's table, then gazed at Reigns with a catatonic look on his face.