Reviews WWE

RAW Review for 12/28/15 – The Boys Are Back in Town

That jukebox in the corner blasting out my favorite song
The nights are getting warmer, it won’t be long
It won’t be long till summer comes
Now that the boys are here again

The boys are back in town” 

The boys are indeed back in town for tonight’s edition of Monday Night RAW. John Cena makes his long awaited return to the brand, and Vince McMahon returns to further his angle with new WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns. Also announced today was the fact that The Rock will be appearing at WrestleMania 32; and that could only mean that he’s wrestling as the event is still 3 months away. When will he pop up as we begin our trek on the Road to WrestleMania? Maybe it will be an end of year surprise, as RAW comes to us from The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY tonight; the same place The Rock made a surprise appearance to confront Rusev just over a year ago.

It’s time for Wrestling With Words’ weekly coverage of Monday Night RAW. I’m doing it live baby~!, sorry Sid.

It’s the final RAW of 2015, sold out in the Barclays. Ambrose & The Usos vs. L.O.N., Kevin Owens vs. Neville, as well as John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio are all on-deck for tonight.

Vince McMahon kicks off the show. Chimel is doing ring announcing tonight and I love it. He’s come out here tonight to settle the score. Vince had to undergo ‘dental’ surgery. Vince calls out Roman Reigns. As soon as he’s about to ramble on, the music hits. The man comes off more as a star every week with the belt by his side. I sure as heck hope this isn’t a strip angle. Vince can’t quite find it in his heart to congratulate Roman. It’s hinted at that revenge will be brought about in a sideline way, when Roman won’t see it coming.

You better speak up old man. A light-hearted approach makes this promo even better. WHAT chants are thrown around as Vince explains what’s been done to his family. No one turns their back on a McMahon. This is Vince’s ring, and Vince owns Roman’s belt. Sooner or later, Reigns will have to come to terms that Vince ‘owns’ him. The two continue to jab back and forth, with an amazing quote from Vince.

“I’m not a rich snob, I’m a freaking billionaire!”

Vince gets down to the dirty work, asking Reigns how long he thinks he’ll be champ for. The crowd chants Daniel Bryan and Vince SHUTS them up in an amazing turn of events. It’s incredible to see the reaction to this. CM Punk chants follow for some odd reason. Vince is shoot pissed! He resorts to bringing up family. He’s just a generation away from a bone through the nose. Vince made Afa wrestle every single night of the week. He made money off of it and enjoyed it. Sika is a different story. Vince used Sika ‘up’. He lined his pockets with Sika’s money. Roman pushed Vince over and Vince pleads for help with his neck. Steph interrupts and Vince lays in a “paint me like one of your French maids” positions. Officers follow and look to be handcuffing the champ. But, Steph is rejected. They’re not here to police, they’re here to be security. Breaking kayfabe much? Security gets a huge pop for explaining that Steph will go to jail if she keeps up her behavior. Vince is all of a sudden better.

“I’m Vince McMahon, you better know who I am…”

Vince rages, puts his hands on the guy and police get in the ring. POLICE CUFF MCMAHON. Steph goes off on a tangent about the current events going down. Reigns holds the mic to the guys’ face while the speech happens; in a very cool little adjustment which makes him even more of a badass than shying away from getting the speech out there. Vince is taken to jail as Stephanie pleads. Roman poses with the belt, as that’s the end of the opening segment. Nearly 20 minutes. Just found out Drew Gulak was one of the cops. CZDUB 4 LYFE, and Gabe will probably use the segment as a promo in the next e-newsletter prior to the January loop for EVOLVE.

Kevin Owens chants drown out commentary as he’s in the ring.

Kevin Owens vs. NevilleN/R

This match stems off of the fact that Neville won the breakout star Slammy, and KO didn’t; even to WWE’s surprise as they had the Ziggler/Owens angle set-up from the winners perspective. What the hell. In one of the shortest matches in a long time, Neville pinned Owens via roll-up. A Red Arrow/a Pop Up Powerbomb were teased and the match ended just like that, as Neville countered the premature finisher with a roll-up. Owens took out his frustrations on Neville right away. The Michael Cole endorsed ‘man man’ is continuing to be booked well. This helped both guys’ cases, as this isn’t something you can do every week. We’ll see where it’s taken from here.

We’re back from break, and Neville’s helped back to the dressing room.

“Kevin Owens came out here for a fight, not some fancy roll-up.” -JBL (this is the type of commentary I love from a heel perspective).

MY GOD. Kevin Owens flipped Neville with a clothesline from hell and threw him into the steel steps. As Owens is about to apron powerbomb Neville, Ambrose is out for a brawl! The two struggle to gain an advantage and throw each other into barricades and posts. 619 apron Nigel was hit on Owens. Owens retreats as Ambrose stands tall. Everything about this short match/segment is awesome. Mid-card is starting to get real good.

JoJo is with Becky Lynch. Charlotte sent out a Tweet that she won’t be at RAW (working house show not in kayfabe) so Becky will have to learn to win on her own. Disadvantage has never affected Becky in a negative way, as she left home at the age of 18 to go wrestle. She didn’t come here to blend in, she came here to stand out.

The Bo$$ is back in Brooklyn. Becky said this is one of the best cities in the world, but clearly she’s never been in Sasha’s hometown of Boston (she put on a Pats cap). Naomi degrades the town. Becky can bank on that…

Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks***1/4

This was a cluster of so many good/bad wrestling things. First off, the crowd was abysmal. Chanting “boring” at holds makes me extremely angry. Becky was building towards her Disarmer finisher and the crowd hated it because it wasn’t athletic offense. I’m sorry. That’s how it is. That’s what the crowd was like. It’s sad, and this really hurt the match; where as I can watch and separate some small puro crowds. This hurt. However, the action was still very much over-average, as holds were traded to my grins, and the technicality of the match kept it at a solid level, even if the crowd was one of the worst crowds for a match this year. The girls did a lot of good in their reversals and utilizing their knowledge of each other; as Sasha and Becky never locked in their submissions for wins, yet countered their own lead ups to them; which brought us to the finish. After Team B.A.D. got dived on twice, once by Becky in an awesome moment, and once accidentally by Sasha herself, they got involved to potentially cost Becky the match. Sasha hit the second backbreaker of the match and transitioned into the Bank Statement, where Becky countered with a roll-up; and Sasha got out of that to sneak her grip on Becky’s tights for a roll-up win. Lots of really cool spots and moments overshadowed by a horrible crowd. We need more of this, but we won’t get it because of the most ridiculous factors involved in putting on the match itself.

The mug shot of Vince has been released, and Renee has made her way to the precinct in Brooklyn. She gives an update on possible charges as aforementioned. It’s weird how much of a line this draws between action in the arena, as well as kayfabe/shoot stuff~!

New Day is out. Promo time. They became the WWE Tag Champs in this very building last summer. This is also the very building where New Day’s trombone made it’s debut. Big E has brought his pitch pipe. It’s time for a New Day Exclusive Song! The song never gets dropped live, because the crowd doesn’t deserve it; as they never voted New Day for tag team of the year. They excellently slander the awards and why the winners (Usos, Kalisto) can’t compare to them, and everytime they come out and get on the mic it’s an OMG moment. This was, by far, and by large, the best New Day promo yet and one that can be passed off as successful for sure.

Kofi Kingston vs. Kalisto**

Don’t mind if I do. Tonight is a good night for matchups. Very short yet decent match. We got lots of faced past offense combined with a few holds. The crowds reaction was almost as flat-lined, even if they got their more athletic offense. Spoiled brats they are. Kofi sold his midsection well but the bump for the hurricanrana grounded face plant was awkward as he bumped his nose and not his face. The rest wasn’t much. The finish came when Sin Cara dove on Xavier & E, after Xavier was dropkicked off the apron by Kalisto. Then, Kalisto rolled-up Kofi for the 3 count.

New Day roast Luchas post-match. Apparently Sin Cara cheated with the retaliation dive. Xavier has a match for Sin Cara. Payback is a……Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig E! Big E is in the match.

Big E vs. Sin Cara**1/4

The mismatch and dismantling of the man they call Sin Cara was fun yet horrifying. The match turned a corner when Sin Cara flipped over the ropes, had his feet swept from under him, and landed right on his left shoulder on the hard mat. The rest of the match saw Cara power through the injury, which the refs nearly stopped the match for, and the injury got worse as he did a senton AND a top rope rolling senton with his AJ Styles workrate. Eventually Kalisto tried to get involved to give New Day a taste of their own medicine but Kofi took him out, then Sin Cara dropkicked Xavier & Kofi, but was met with a Big Ending and that was that. The crowd was just as bad for this, not even getting behind the usual “clap your hands to power the face up” spots. The crowd was still weirder than this match, and that says a lot. I dug the two singles matches dynamic placed upon the tag feud tonight. Solid stuff met with awkward circumstances. Maybe we’ll get a Kalisto push if this wasn’t a slight work. Also, it was ridiculous to cap it all off taking the Big Ending on his damn shoulder…the man is crazy. Deathwish was wished upon himself via his further in-match actions.

UPDATE: Sin Cara suffered a dislocated shoulder and worked through it. Props, but still crazy he took all those unneeded bumps on it.

MizTV time. Oh boy. This is the first annual MizTV Year in Review Spectacular. Hopefully it’ll only ever be the first edition and nothing more. Ryback interrupts Miz just before he goes on a tangent about his 2015 New Years Resolution. The Big Guy has a big appetite, but he’s had his fill of MizTV! After a burp and more words from Ryback, Goldust is out. When Goldust gets one of the better pops of the night, you know a show is truly bizarre. After Goldust’s tangent, Zack Ryder is out?! What?! Brooklyn is New Zack City baby! R-Truth is out to interrupt Miz’s yoga talk. They pull a Truth comedy bit where he puts over Slammy Superstar of the Year voting and asks for people to vote for him. Miz says Slammys were last week. I could hear a pin drop in the arena. He remembers that he won the Slammy for LOL Moment of the Year. Before Miz transitions into a daily planner talk with Truth, Slater is here after the excellent interview this week. Big Show buries Heath before he can say anything. Big Show clears the ring. Vince has gotta build his big men to eliminate the Rumble darlings. Truth knocks himself out but gets picked back up and chokeslammed. Ryback was about to eliminate Show from the imaginary Rumble but Show tosses him over. Please retire chants are thrown in his direction, but Show declares himself as Entrant #1 in the 2016 Royal Rumble. He’s then going to WrestleMania, going to win the title and shove it up—–. Yeah.

Big Show vs. Ryback*

Not only did the pacing of the match not make sense, but the match itself wasn’t good. The only other thing I remember was Ryback hitting a dropkick to down Show. Show kept running away and waiting for Ryback to turn around to execute moves, which is the complete opposite of what a giant should do in order to come across as a large presence. After a really short build to the finish, which was basically what I just described, Show ran away after Ryback mounted offense and the 10 count was enforced for the finish. I mean, decent booking, but not even a solid match. Completely short, non-sensible and bizarre for the type of dynamic it was.

In honor of Vince tonight, The League of Nations will lay down the ‘greatest beatdown’ on The Usos & Ambrose tonight. Works for me, but I doubt this will be 10/10 on the Muta scale.

Dean Ambrose & The Usos vs. Sheamus, Rusev & Wade Barrett**1/4

Holy heck did this match ever drag. It spanned 2+ segments which, combined with the dynamic of a typical 6 man tag, becomes quite the chore. I liked the fact that The Usos had to fight through their two injuries, Jey with his shoulder and Jimmy with his worked-over leg that took up a good hunk of the match. I don’t remember much of what Ambrose did because The Usos were essentially working a handicap match sans the hot tag and a few other tiny little moments. The crowd was ridiculous yet again, chanting “we are awesome”, making Dunn follow the wave; but the one good thing that came out of it was the fact that L.O.N. played up the wave and mocked it well. Barrett got literally no action in the tag, only helping with the finish, trying to cost Jey Uso the match but Jey still hitting the splash…only to land on Sheamus’ kicked up knees. Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick for the win.

Post-match we got more KO outta nowhere. He powerbombed Ambrose through the announce table to cap off the attack. The fact that Owens takes the moment in and closes his eyes, looking up at the ceiling, arms stretched wide, etc; puts over the character at large, and no one has done that type of believable expression in a long time. Ambrose and Neville both out thus far. I have no clue if Kev comes back tonight, but he’s sure as hell left a massive impact; on the level of his debut that one night on RAW.

Mr. McMahon has posted bail and is seemingly on his way back to RAW. Steph denies an interview request and Vince tells poor Renee to get out of his face. That’s it for that.

Cena is back, almost symbolically as Vince was freed from his chains. We’re about to have a U.S. Open Challenge, but there’s one problem, as the champ is Del Rio. The U.S. Championship used to be fun, but now it’s in Del Rio’s hands. He calls out a dude that has an anti-Cena shirt. White trash enough to be Bruce Blitz. He’s reminiscing on the good ole days of title defenses. Just as Cena finishes describing the situation as a disgrace, Del Rio is out with the L.O.N. Del Rio flaunts his title as he exclaims “The champ is here!” These people don’t deserve a U.S. Title match according to Del Rio. I mean, it’s true, but I still want it so Cena can win the belt back. The exchange gets heated as Cena continues to barter for a title match. Del Rio continues to deny the challenge. Cena called him a punk bitch to get him #FiredUp. Cena eventually convinces Del Rio via NY cheap pops. We’ve got ourselves a title match to end the final RAW of 2015.

We get a tribute to the “Ace of Spades” Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister. I was hoping we’d get one tonight. R.I.P. Lemmy, and thank you, especially, for the incredible and iconic wrestling themes over the years.

(United States Championship) Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. John Cena**3/4

This was an extremely dry match for 75% of its duration, but everyone involved came through for a nice finish where the League of Nations triumph yet again to be dominant heels in comparison to booking patterns of other stables in the past. This has consistency at least. When it came down to the finish, WWE did it right (even if it isn’t peoples’ favorite scapegoat; the DQ). Alberto hit the kick that pinned Cena to get the title, and locked in the cross armbreaker more than once, but Cena managed to power through and kickout of everything thrown at him. The first AA attempt saw a ref bump with the side sweeping legs knocking the ref down. From there on out, this was where it was done right. Del Rio tapped (but ‘actually’ didn’t) to the STF, and the League ran out which changed the match for good. Rusev held Cena for a Sheamus Brogue Kick but was hit, and Sheamus was given an AA which livened the crowd up slightly. We got to the point where Cena hit the AA on Del Rio, went for the pin, but L.O.N. saved the man who could “do it on his own” tonight. The start to middle portions of the match hardly did anything, and felt off, but the boys brought it right back for the finish that gave me more of what I was looking for, even if booked as a scapegoat. I never thought it could definitively go either way. Props for that.

After the match, the League were silenced by Reigns who saved his Uce brothers from the ongoing slaughter. A massive spear to Rusev like the one to Big Show a while back, and a massive superman to Sheamus. Reigns clears house, but Vince is back after making bail. He says he’s going to sue the city of New York. If he could, he’d sue each and every one of the fans. Next week, Roman Reigns defends his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Sheamus. Vince then announces himself as Special Guest Ref for the match.

Vince says Happy New Year x10 (literally) to end the show, with the last being…

Happy New Year pal! 

There you have it. We already have a big time main event to kickoff 2016, and League of Nations managed to stand tall except for the tail-end of the show; but were launched back into good chances because of next week’s announcement. Definitely not a great show at all, with mediocre matches and a terrible crowd, but with Vince featured; and Roman Reigns appearing at the beginning and end, those were your reasons to stay. You wern’t going to tune out (unless if you were hardcore) because you knew Vince was on his way back to the arena afrer making bail. Cena/Del Rio panned out simply alright, and it seems as if we’re going to get Cena/L.O.N., and Cena/Del Rio many more times in 2016. Thanks for checking out the live coverage, as Dan takes back the labor reviews next week. Sayonara, PAL, and don’t forget; we have monster Kevin Owens to look forward to. I wonder who’s going to be murdered next…

About the author


Founder of this weird world. Purveyor of generally ~POSITIVE~ pro wrestling takes. If you see a show preview, it's likely me. If you see odd fantasy booking, it's Dan, but possibly me too. Vancouver born and raised. Your sports fandom section is inserted here (BC Lions fan). Enjoy being terrible at video games. We have a side project for that! Don't do as many podcasts as I used to, but you can listen to the bi-weekly 'Your Taste is My Taste' adventure with Garrett. That just about wraps up my long ass bio. Wanted to see how much you'd actually read on here. Or am I just a bad writer? You'll never know, but what you do know is that you should keep it locked to Wrestling With Words.


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