Tonight's Raw from Chicago will be highlighted by Shane McMahon's 2nd Raw appearance since his surprise return. It'll be interesting to see if the huge reception he received in Detroit was just a one-week pop or something sustainable until WrestleMania. Tonight's show will serve a dual purpose of building WrestleMania along with Road Block this Saturday, where HHH will headline against Dean Ambrose for the WWE title. The WWE website has teased Kevin Owens not having a match set for WrestleMania, so he may factor into that finish to resume his program with Ambrose. Also tonight, the New Day will defend the tag team titles against Y2AJ. Now that the Divas Championship is a three-way match with Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks, there will likely be an angle to start that build, as well.
Our coverage starts at 8 ET.
The Big Takeaway: Shane McMahon returned to continue the buildup for WrestleMania with a verbal dual with his father. Highlight of the show was the New Day beating Y2AJ to retain the World Tag Team Titles in an awesome match. Afterwards, Chris Jericho turned heel on A.J. Styles by giving him three Codebreakers and stuffing a Y2AJ t-shirt down his mouth. The show should have ended at that point, but they had another 75 minutes to fill.
Shane McMahon came out to another big reception. He said he heard what Vince McMahon had to say last week, and he's lost respect for his father after he renounced his son. Shane said Vince had lost his touch with his business, his fan base, with reality, with him and his grandsons. Shane said it was his destiny to be in control of Monday Night Raw. That got "Yes" chants. Shane said the backstage politics would stop with him. And also, every baseball umpire will have the same strike zone. (I added that last part).
He mentioned guys who get breaks who have no talent would end. He repeated that it was his destiny to defeat the Undertaker and start a new legacy in the WWE in control of Raw. Then the Undertaker's gong hit, but Vince came out. After getting no reaction last week, Vince got lots of heat. Then they chanted for C.M. Punk. Vince said Shane looked scared when the Undertaker's gong hit, and he would feel terror at WrestleMania. Vince mentioned writing Shane out of his will and Stephanie McMahon would get everything. Vince stumbled on a picture of him and a little Shane just before they went to their first WWE event in Worchester, Massachusetts. He held up a framed copy of the picture, then threw it down and smashed on the ramp.
Vince said Shane grew up thinking his father was invincible. He was Vince McMahon, and Shane was just Vince's son. Vince turned his attention to his grandsons, who would watch their father fail them. Vince said Shane's dreams would be shattered, and so would theirs. The only solace would be once Shane is placed on a stretcher and taken to the hospital, Vince would take Shane's children, hug them and say "At least you have one father figure you can be proud of." Vince said its totally ironic his greatest creation will put to rest his greatest failure.
Vince then brought out security and escorted Shane out of the building. Four guys came down Shane told security not to touch him because he was amped up. One of the security guys got in the ring on Vince's orders. Shane threw some bad looking punches on the guy. Then other three ran in, but Shane cleared house with knees and punches. The stuff didn't look good, but Shane was so over it didn't matter. Shane's music just started to end the segment.
Kevin Owens (C) defeated Neville in a nontitle match (10:19)
Another very good match where Neville had the crowd thinking he had it won after a Flaming Star Press from the second rope. Kevin Owens kicked out in a great near fall. Neville turned to do the Red Arrow, but Owens grabbed his trunks and held them for the pin with a schoolboy cradle. Earlier, Owens avoided a Neville dive out of the ring and threw Neville into the steps. Neville made the comeback with an enzuigiri. Michael Cole mentioned Owens boasting about being the greatest the Intercontiental Champion of all time and wanting to have a better WrestleMania match then Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat.
Owens jumped Neville after the match, throwing his shoulder into the post. He was about to give Neville a power bomb on the floor when Sami Zayn made his return, running out for the save. Zayn got a big reaction. Owens took a few punches and tried to walk out, but Neville kicked him in the head and Zayn sent him packing. Crowd was elated with the segment. Byron Saxton mentioned the possibility of Neville vs. Owens at WrestleMania, but this segment teased otherwise.
They aired a video tweet from the Rock (I guess Touts have gone the way of the WBF, the World and the XFL) promoting WrestleMania for free on the WWE Network.
Stephanie walked up to Dolph Ziggler. Stephanie mentioned a tweet that Dolph made putting down the authority that was deleted. Dolph brought up the Survivor Series from November 2014 when he fought back from a 3-on-1 deficit after the Big Show's 2014 heel turn to put the Authority out of action forever. Well, for four weeks. And we're supposed to take the stipulations at WrestleMania seriously because...? Anyway, Stephanie ordered Dolph to face three members of the League of Nations in an elimination match tonight by himself.
Summer Rae defeated Brie Bella (2:05)
Summer Rae won when Lana came out to distract Brie Bella, and Rae pinned her with a schoolgirl cradle in a finish we saw 15 minutes ago. Lana was wearing her 1988 Whitesnake video blue jean skirt outfit. She gave Brie a Bella Buster, trying to get heat for giving Brie her own finisher.
Dean Ambrose came out and said he has overthrown all plans for WrestleMania when he beats HHH at Road Block and becomes the new face of the WWE. He mentioned the new face of the WWE, going to be on Oprah (She's off the air now), being on the cover of People magazine and going to various charity functions with HHH. Ambrose said he would make HHH buy him a new shiny suit, then said he would never wear a suit. He rambled on in this scripted rant when HHH came out.
HHH showed up and said reality is he would be WWE World Heavyweight Championship as long as he wanted. He said Roman Reigns thought he could take the championship, but his face is getting glued back together. HHH said maybe Ambrose should take another trip to the announce table to understand he can't beat HHH. Ambrose said after he beats HHH for the championship, he'll stand on the table, hold the championship up high and HHH could suck it. HHH said Road Block was something some idiot in marketing came up with. Ambrose was nothing more than a speed bump or a pot hole. HHH said Ambrose was just like Reigns, they both had problems with authority. And how is that working for Reigns? HHH told Ambrose should stop with delusional thinking.
They bickered back-and-forth until Ambrose demanded HHH come to the ring. HHH said he doesn't fight on Ambrose's time, just on his time. HHH said Ambrose would face Bray Wyatt tonight. He said Ambrose would come face-to-face with reality on Saturday, and reality is the Authority always wins. Well, that's reality more than HHH even knows.
Sheamus, Rusev and King Barrett defeated Dolph Ziggler in an elimination match (6:33)
Sheamus pinned Ziggler after a Brogue Kick following a roundhouse kick by Rusev. Earlier, Ziggler pinned King Barrett at 5:45 with a Superkick to narrow the odds to 2-on-1, briefly. The tweet from Ziggler than Stephanie brought up earlier was shown where Ziggler welcomed Shane back and said he would send the Authority out of power just like he did at Survivor Series 2014, but the Authority punished him again.
They showed a video package of Shane's wrestling career with the Big Show, JBL, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins putting over how tough he is. The videos were mostly from the late 90s-to-early 00s, and the majority of the highlights were Kurt Angle selling for him.
Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks were backstage bickering. They're tagging tonight but argued over who would win in their triple threat match against Charlotte at WrestleMania. Lynch talked about somebody getting an Lass kicking.
Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks defeated Tamina and Naomi via submission (1:52)
Lynch made Naomi tap to the Bank Statement. Charlotte and Ric Flair were at ringside. Charlotte ran in and attacked both of her opponents, including an exploder suplex on Lynch.
R-Truth walked in to the building dressed as a pizza delivery man and walked past Mark Henry, who wondered what he was up to. Truth told Goldust he wanted to do dress like someone crazy and gave Goldust a Chicago deep dish pizza. Goldust wondered "What in the Blue Blazer are you thinking?" Goldust said he was lactose intolerant and if he had any pizza, his butt would explode. Goldust walked off. Truth said he had no idea about Goldust's exploding butt and left the pizza sitting so Henry could help himself, proclaming his love for Chicago.
The New Day came out. Kofi Kingston mentioned they had held the WWE tag team titles for 197 consecutive days. Xavier Woods said Y2AJ would never last as a team and end up as the zombies in "Left For Dead." Big E. mentioned they each got matching tattooes. Kingston and Woods acted like they didn't know what he was talking about. Big E. said he was just kidding (though he wasn't), saying he never got a blue and white tattoo on his butt cheeks. Chris Jericho came out with a Y2AJ t-shirt.
The New Day defeated Y2AJ to retain the WWE Tag Team titles (11:30)
Big E. pinned jericho after the Big Ending. Jericho tried a Codebreaker, but Big E. caught him and placed him on his shoulders. The best tag team match on Raw in ages. Jericho had Kingston in the Walls of Jericho and the crowd was begging for a tapout. Woods tried to push the bottom rope closer for Kingston to grab, but A.J. Styles knocked Woods down. Big E. took out Styles by slamming him into the barricade, then tagged in. Earlier, Jericho hit a lionsault on Kingston. Styles made a blind tag and followed with a springboard 450, but Big E. pulled Kingston out of the ring. Even better than Owens-Neville.
Postmatch, Styles helped Jericho to his feet. After Jericho got up, he turned heel on Styles by giving him a codebreaker. Styles barely got up before Jericho gave him another Codebreaker, then followed with another one. Jericho, who got good heat for this turn, then got the Y2AJ t-shirt and stuffed it down Styles' mouth as he was down. Excellent execution from all parties involved.
They announced that the Rock would appear at WrestleMania.
Jericho did an interview with Renee Young saying everyone in Chicago, the town where Y2J was born, was doing but chanting for Styles. Now, they won't be chanting his name anymore.
Kalisto (C) defeated Tyler Breeze in a nontitle match (2:11)
Kalisto pinned Tyler Breeze with Salida del Sol. Kalisto really doesn't come across as anything special as U.S. Champion. He's just feels like another Luchador that doesn't stand out. At least Breeze got to do his ring entrance.
JoJo interviewed Kalisto. She was almost as tall as he was. Kalisto brought up Rey Mysterio and Eddy Guerrero as legends he saw at WrestleMania. Ryback stepped in and wondered how he doesn't have a match in WrestleMania, or isn't in the main event. He put Kalisto over as one of the best in the WWE pound-for-pound, but he doesn't understand why people go to Superhero movies like Deadpool and think little guys can go around and save the world. Ryback said he makes Ryan Reynolds and Robert Downey Jr. look like Antman. He makes Nate Diaz and Connor McGregor look like Antman, too. However, Diaz's PPV paycheck from Saturday night compared to Ryback makes his look like Little Beaver. Ryback went on forever about how being in a tag team only holds you down, which does wonders for putting over the tag team titles that just stole the show.
Social Outscasts came out. They've added a group cheer like "Wooo Bundy" from "Married with Children." Bo Dallas said Ryback doesn't want to be part of a team, which mean he can't be one of the new Ghostbusters. Adam Rose said you have to be a woman to be a Ghostbuster. Curtis Axel screamed "Tonight, the Axeman cometh" and started chanting "Ye" like he was Mark Lewin. Rose, Heath Slater and Dallas started doing it and they danced in a circle until Ryback came out.
Ryback pinned Curtis Axel (2:06)
Ryback won with a Shell Shock. His new psuedo-heel gimmick where he brawls like a MMA Superheavyweight looks DOA as the crowd spent the match chanting for Punk again.
Vince was backstage on the phone saying how the old WrestleMania record was 93,000. Too bad he wasn't on the subpoena list in St. Petersburg, Florida today. Stpehanie wondered in expressing concern that Shane would win at WrestleMania. Vince calmed her by saying "Don't worry. I got this." She said "But what if you don't?"
Bray Wyatt did a prematch promo about his match against Brock Lesnar on Saturday at Road Block.
Dean Ambrose defeated Bray Wyatt by DQ (11:47)
Crowd was dead again as this show peaked at the tag title match and the Jericho turn. Ambrose gained the upper hand with his flying elbow when Luke Harper, Braun Strowman and Erick Harper showed up. They jumped Ambrose, and Wyatt gave him Sister Abigail.
HHH came out for an odd sequence. He nooded in approval at the Wyatt Clan for taking out Ambrose. Then as HHH was about to start pounding on Ambrose, Wyatt got in HHH's face and they had a staredown that got the crowd's attention. Wyatt smiled, rubbed his hands on HHH's championship belt and left with his group. Sure did seem to tease a potential program between the two, which may finally get Wyatt to turn face. Then again, if that happens, we'll be seeing Strowman do Hillbilly Jim spots in no time.
HHH cleared the announcer's table teasing another beatdown of Ambrose. But Ambrose recovered and gave HHH Dirty Deeds, and a babyface was left standing at the end credits for a change.
SUMMARY: Ambrose has run out of top guy capital with the fans. They've seen him lose too many big matches to take him seriously as someone who can win the big one, especially the month before WrestleMania. Last year, at least his top matches had heat. That hasn't happened recently. I understand JBL has to be a heel announcer, but his rant about what a travesty it would be if Ambrose became world champion sounds exactly the same every three months. It's beyond monotony. Considering the main event of this show featured Lesnar's next two major match opponents, it doesn't feel like the company is maximizing his potential box office.