Hello again folks, welcome to the weekly review that dives deep into WWE’s Monday night programming. Our lord John Cena is out with a shoulder injury for an unknown amount of time, the Royal Rumble is now for the world title, some major acquisitions may have been made, and all eyes are on the fed now. Let’s jump right in.
Raw opens with the whole damn roster waiting on the stage as the McMahons make their way through them and to the ring. New Day dances to No Chance in Hell. Vince and Steph talk about the Rumble being the biggest opportunity for anyone on the roster, pointing out Ziggler, or possibly Owens. Vince says it could be… a New Day! Vince and Steph fail at syncing up their lines and say that’s.. not/ain’t.. booty! The Wyatt bit plays and Bray is suddenly standing on the announce table, dropping the ‘anyone but you Roman’ line, prompting Reigns to come out. Reigns asks Vince and Steph what happens if he does win? Steph and Vince laugh him off but are gonna give him an opportunity tonight to see if he could possibly do it, calling it the One vs All match with 1/3rd of the roster vs Reigns tonight. This is certainly some booking isn’t it? A match that will serve no other purpose than the tired old bit of making Reigns look good. I don’t see much point to this, the guy was made when he won the title on Raw, the receptions have been more than good. Steph alludes to Ambrose possibly being in that match, but Sheamus comes out and attacks Ambrose, leading to a match between them.. right now! The most important part of this segment was Stardust rocking the David Bowie lightning bolt facepaint. Respect.
Sheamus’ assault before the match brings us right into a match where Ambrose gets little offense in. He continues to fight back but doesn’t get much in as Sheamus throws him around the ring, even dropping him onto the announce table. Ambrose gets his usual sequence of moves in into a suicide dive onto Sheamus as we go to commercial. It’s pretty much just every other Ambrose match you’ve seen. Commentary spews out the words ‘Ambrose Asylum’ multiple times to ensure that you know just how crazy he is. There’s really nothing to this match, it’s as cookie cutter as it gets. I wouldn’t call it bad, but it’s certainly not very interesting. The match does pick up at the end where they go into a complete brawl on the outside, getting the double count out finish as Ambrose slams Sheamus’ head into the post, Sheamus even gets busted open HARD. Ambrose starts tearing down the announce table and out comes Owens to beat him down. Good stuff at the finish, didn’t expect to see any amount of color in this match, let alone Sheamus’ face becoming a crimson mask. Jeez.
Vince and Steph run into Paul Heyman who discuss the One vs All match tonight. Heyman says that Lesnar doesn’t care about the Rumble, he just wants a title match at Mania. Vince says he doesn’t like that idea, and they go into their office to discuss more. Interesting.
Glad Stardust gets a match tonight rocking the Bowie facepaint, definitely the best man to do the tribute. This feud continues and Titus takes controls of most of this short-lived match. Stardust gets some offense in but ultimately Titus O’Neil picks up the win with the Clash of the Titus. Titus tries to celebrate with a kid in the crowd who looks mortified but Stardust attacks him from behind. There’s a Starman standing tall to end this one.
Your dad is back with his Highlight Reel segment. Jericho comes out to near dead silence, wearing the most dad outfit of all time, a scarf/tie thing with no shirt and his jacket. The joke is just too easy at this point. Jericho shows a montage of random social media posts about his god awful rooty tooty booty chant. In true middle-aged dad form, he lists off a bunch of social media sites and stops with “MySpace haha is that a thing still guys?!” My finger hovers over the Power button on my remote. New Day interrupt and bring some light to this, saying they’re gonna put a stop to Jericho’s flim-flam. Jericho tries so desperately to get his stupid damn chant going. Xavier says that’s not even a thing. New Day start to shame Jericho for his hair, his clothes, until Usos interrupt. It got worse. Usos want New Day to put their money where their mouth is and prove that they’re the best team in the company. Xavier calls the Usos a worse team than Ricky Gervais and Mel Gibson. Incredible. Jericho proposes a match between Usos and Kofi/Big E with Xavier in their corner, and himself in the Usos corner. He calls the Usos his ‘back of the bus brothas’ which sounds vaaaguely racist. He does the BIG E HAS AN E FOR A NAME bit again. I hate this segment, this is an early contender for 2016 Worst Segment of the Year. Somehow, we’ve reached a point where not even New Day can save a bit. True Hell on Earth, brothers and sisters.
Here we are, back to where we were, a feud we know so well. JBL talks about having Rikishi’s ass in his face during this match. Xavier plays his trombone and Jericho chases him off. Jimmy Uso gets the isolated beatdown treatment from New Day. Big E’s splash on the apron spot is goddamn brutal every time he does it. Jey gets a centimeter within tag reach but Big E cuts him down. Jey eventually gets the tag in and flys around the ring and looks to pick up the win but Xavier runs interference. Jericho blasts the trombone on his face, and in the most disgusting act ever, breaks the trombone over his knee. Jey rolls Kofi up for the win.
Steph and Heyman face off backstage, Heyman saying Brock refuses to compete in the Royal Rumble. Steph puts on the boss shoes and says Brock doesn’t have a choice, because Vince says so. JBL gets in the ring and announces Sting being the first inductee in the 2016 Hall of Fame, which was announced on WWE.com earlier today. They play a great video package chronicling his career.
The Wyatts come out, followed by… The Social Outcasts. This is a match that’s about to happen. Bo calls themselves the Four Musketeers. Slater says they’re here for a fight. The bell may have rung but this is certainly no match. Braun Strowman has no trouble dispatching these guys, until Ryback comes out to make the save. Yes, Ryback saves Social Outcasts, and they stand tall as the Wyatts retreat. Commentary puts this over as a showing that ‘any alliance could be formed in the Royal Rumble’. I suppose so. How strange.
Del Rio vs Kalisto for the US title is next! Del Rio asks if the people wanna see John Cena and they cheer. Del Rio says JUANITA will not be here and because of him, he won’t be at the Rumble, and he won’t even be at Wrestlemania. Del Rio has the scoops. Del Rio says he broke Cena, and now he’ll SQUASH Kalisto like a mosquito.
Del Rio mercilessly attacks Kalisto right as the bell rings. Kalisto takes Del Rio down with a senton and a corkscrew attack, trying to follow it with a rana but Del Rio holds on and powerbombs him. A pretty sweet back and forth in the earlygoings. Del Rio sidesteps a suicide dive from Kalisto and tosses him into the barricade on the way down, looked super brutal. Back from commercial, Kalisto seems to have the advantage but once again side steps a dive attempt from Kalisto. Del Rio is actually working in this match and it’s great. Kalisto nails Del Rio with a crazy DDT that nearly gets him the 3 on the pin attempt, and gets caught with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Kalisto looks to try and hit a sliced bread off the ropes but Del Rio tosses him into the ropes with a SICK counter. Kalisto avoids the top rope curbstomp from Del Rio and plants his head into the ground with a headscissors. Kalisto goes to follow it up with the Salida del Sol but Del Rio gets out, tries to pick him up into a german but Kalisto rolls though, catching him in a pin and getting the three count! Kalisto wins the United States championship! Wow! That was completely unexpected, I definitely saw a shitty finish with the League running it, but no interference at all?! Holy shit. A really great match too, Del Rio working very solid, and Kalisto being one of the best they got. Awesome stuff.
Brie vs Charlotte is next but Becky comes out and attacks Charlotte before the match gets underway, beating her the hell down. Ric jumps on the mic and says the champ won’t be wrestling tonight because of Becky Lynch. Ric calls Charles Robinson ‘fat boy’ and leaves. That’s not nice, don’t bully Charles. Becky cuts a great promo backstage, it looks like she might be getting the push. We can only hope.
This is the ‘main event’ for the evening. Reigns makes his way down, as does Vince and Steph bringing out his opponents which are literally just all the heels. Vince calls out Kevin Owens as the first opponent and yells SIC ‘EM KEVIN. Owens has the advantage throughout as everyone else cheers on his brutality, which is very endearing to hear. Reigns hit some desperation moves but Owens continues to lock on the holds. The many, many, many holds. I love KO but I cannot handle twenty headlocks in one match. Owens and Reigns are selling the exhaustion and desperation very well, though. It would have been much easier to label this as a lumberjack match between Owens and Reigns, because that’s literally all it is. The match finally makes the descent into everyone attacking Reigns, Breeze the victim of a spear. Vince sics everyone on Reigns now, and Reigns gets decimated. They set up Reigns to eat a Brogue Kick from Sheamus. The familiar tone of death chimes, and The Beast makes his way to the ring. New Day celebrate this, assuming that he’s gonna help murder Reigns, but New Day become victim to the god of death. Owens gets hit with the german which makes me clamor for a match between those two. Lesnar clears everyone out and drags Reigns to the center of the ring. Lesnar stalks his victim, picks him up, and drills him with an F5. Lesnar storms off to end Raw.
Raw didn’t have many high points, but the ones that it did were tremendous, in the ways of Kalisto/Del Rio, Becky’s attack and promo, and of course, The Beastgod destroying everyone. Kalisto’s title win was one of those unexpected moments that you love to see on Raw, and it was done with a great match. The many low points brought the show down a lot, and getting the taste of that Highlight Reel segment out of my mouth is gonna be difficult. The Royal Rumble just got a helluva lot more interesting with that closing segment.
That’ll do it for me this week, folks. As always, thanks for reading. Go listen to some Bowie tunes tonight.