I woke up this morning assuming that everything that happened last night was the product of a sudden onset fever dream, but as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, I realized that it was all real. Hello everyone, and welcome to the weekly Raw review brought to you by me, Dan. So, we’re 24 hours removed from the Royal Rumble. AJ Styles arrived last night, debuting at #3, facing off with the likes of Reigns, Jericho, and being eliminated by Owens, setting up multiple potential feuds. Surreal, folks. I had goosebumps, my brain couldn’t process seeing Styles on WWE TV and it’ll be the same tonight, as he’s confirmed to appear live on Raw. Sami Zayn appeared and fought with Owens, reigniting the eternal feud and I hope we see that tonight as well. Sasha Banks is back for the title. Kalisto won back the US title, thankfully. The King of Kings is once again the reigning WWE champion. All Hail. So much happened, for the full rundown go check out Skillcrane’s review of the whole damn event. WWE has been teasing all day that a major star will return tonight. Nobody knows exactly who, it’s adding to the massive hype train going into Raw. Let’s get into what could possibly be the most interesting Raw in a long, long time.
Vince & Steph kick off the show in high spirits. Vince says they’re feeling so good, cause they broke Roman Reigns in HALF, pierced his heart and ripped his title from him. Vince says he has a confession to make. It’s tough for him but he confesses that he enjoys the misery and misfortune of others, which is why he loves coming out every week! Vince says Reigns is broken and he’s gonna say that way. Steph says they pulled the biggest coup in WWE history, everyone thought it was gonna be Reigns winning, or maybe even AJ Styles (to a big laugh from Vince). This elicits a huge pop from the crowd and an AJ Styles chant. Steph puts over Big Trips, as if he needs it, and introduces the champ. Triple H reveals the title underneath his suit jacket, in such a boss way it’s incredible. Vince says BOW DOWN TO THE KING. H says it’s good to be the king, and says he’s gotta hand it to Roman Reigns who could be one of the most amazing athletes ever, but the thing is, he could be. H said he could put up with his disrespect of the Authority but he couldn’t put up with his treatment of Vince. Triple H cuts a great promo about Vince being a God and wrestling being H’s religion, and Reigns will never take that from him. H says he doesn’t need to be champion, but he wants to be champion because people like Reigns want to be champion and they don’t deserve it. H says people like Reigns will conform or cease to exist. Steph asks who will be coming after his champion at ‘Mania? Steph says by the end of tonight, they will announce the main event of Fast Lane which will be for a shot at H’s title at WrestleMania.
A damn good opening segment here, Triple H is always at the top of his game during Wrestlemania season, especially with that belt in hand. Tonight will be very, very interesting, and announced for later is Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles. Hooooly shit, that’s surreal to even type let alone see. We are truly in some crazy times, folks.
Ziggler starts with a superkick on Owens into a quick pin but thankfully doesn’t get the three. Owens punishes him as we go to commercial. Real good back and forth action here. Nothing too special but a decent quick match all-around. Owens caught Ziggler up on the top turnbuckle and nailed the pop-up powerbomb for the win.
Social Outcasts are out here and Heath Slater is eyeballing Flo Rida who is ringside. Slater says he’s pushed Flo Rida around a lot in the past, so he better just sit there. Bo calls out Flo Rida to face them. Flo Rida jumps the barricade and nobody stops him. Heath says it’ll be a rap battle, Flo Rida against… Bo Rida. Bo spits some bars ending with ‘I’ve got a Full House like Danny Tanner’ before dropping the mic. Flo Rida’s attempts are awful and the crowd boos him, but he calls out the Dudleys. This was a ridiculous backfire that made Bo Dallas look like a better rapper than Flo Rida, which isn’t very unbelievable to be honest. Flo Rida’s career might have just been ended by Bo tonight.
Bo Dallas’ new wrestling singlet is absolutely ridiculous, as is this match. Nothing much to be seen here, but really, you know what you’re gonna get with this match. Heath gets caught up yelling at Flo Rida and gets the headbutt to the groin, Axel gets caught with the 3D for the Dudleys to pick up the win. A nothing match with Flo Rida sprinkled in there. Social Outcasts are at least entertaining though.
AJ STYLES is backstage being interviewed by Renee, Styles said he turned the WWE Universe upside down and is interrupted by Jericho. Jericho says Styles is finally where he belongs, having a chance to make a huge impression against a 6 time world champion tonight. AJ vs Y2J. Next.
I had to look at the title of the match a few times as I typed out, absolutely surreal. Styles’ theme is so good, and he has cool pyro now! A lock-up into an armdrag from Styles getting the first advantage in the match but Jericho chopping him down. Styles nails the jumping clothesline, but Jericho takes him down with some dropkicks, and cuts him down on the apron hard. JBL busts out the awaited, downplay everywhere else he’s worked cause now he’s in the BIG LEAGUES line much to nobody’s surprise. Jericho says “come on kid!” to the 38 year old newcomer. Jericho looks worn out tonight, could be from being the Rumble last night for 50 goddamn minutes but who knows, he’s working like he’s moving through clay tonight. Styles busts out a quick combo of strikes and even pulls out a Goto-style fireman’s carry neckbreaker. Great stuff. Styles hit a huge springboard elbow strike on Jericho and goes for a headscissors but Jericho catches him into the Walls of Jericho. Styles hit the Pele Kick and goes up top, going for a damn High Fly Flow but Jericho moves out of the way. Jericho goes for the Lionsault but Styles gets the knees up and teases the Styles Clash again, Jericho rolling through into a pin, countered by Styles into a pin of his own to get the three. Man, when he actually hits the Clash, the roof is gonna blow off. Real good stuff for Styles’ debut, would have been better if Jericho was in better condition, cause man he looked really rough. Styles extends the hand and Jericho shakes it but doesn’t let go, facing off with him before leaving.
Ushigoro… Wait wrong show pic.twitter.com/1YR9zFW9UW
— Jocay (@Jocay19) January 26, 2016
A limo pulls up to the arena, the commentators speculating if it could be the big star that’s been rumored.
The hits keep on coming. A quick back and forth between the two, Becky hitting the exploder and Sasha hitting the rope-hung double knee stomp in the corner. A sequence into Sasha hitting the Banks Statement but Charlotte interrupts causing a DQ, laying them both out and standing tall with her title. Oh man, I am (cautiously) PUMPED to see where this goes. Things are finally looking promising for this division, but I’m not gonna speak too soon.
Goldust is backstage searching for a new partner, scoping out R-Truth. Goldust’s old mannerisms have suddenly returned. R-Truth says he’s a married man, and says there’s nothing wrong with it but he doesn’t swing that way and leaves. Goldust says he meant a tag team partner. I have no idea what just happened here. This was like an Attitude Era segment horribly misplaced in the year of 2016. Very odd.
We were doing pretty well up until this point right? A slow match with a lot of clubbing blows and Bray domination, etc. etc. The crowd chants for a Randy Savage cosplayer in the front row, who then gets kicked out I’m guessing due to the massive boos from the crowd. Harper runs interference and Bray hits Sister Abigail on Kane to win the match. Braun chokes out Kane and leaves him lifeless as they all pose. The most filler match that ever was filler.
Rich Brennan is knocking on the limo window to find out who is in it, and it’s the Miz apparently. The Miz announces himself as the surprise return but a big ass truck skids in from behind and out comes The Rock! The Rock tells Miz to pack his truck and leaves, greeting Rick Ross who is backstage for some reason. He finds Big Show and reminisces about past Rumbles, saying that Big Show could have gotten the role for The Scorpion King if he won. Big Show hides his beeg tears. The Rock finds Lana and reminisces with her about an apparent sexual encounter they had at a hotel before Rusev shows up, Lana denying it. The Rock talks to the camera while going to gorilla and makes his entrance. Such a strangely shot segment, but really cool. The Rock just murdered kayfabe right in front of your eyes and you love it, cause it’s The Rock.
Rocky hypes up Wrestlemania, saying JBL, Michael Cole, and that other black dude he doesn’t know are ready. Poor Byron. The crowd chants for the Savage cosplayer and The Rock says it’s time to go off-script. Things are going crazy. Rock talks to the cosplayers ringside, Dunn and Vince must be throwing shit backstage. The New Day interrupt and Xavier gets justice for Byron, saying he’s the best commentator at the table, watch the product! New Day say they destroyed his cousins The Usos, and Kofi says for a people’s champion, he doesn’t have any gold. Big E says The Rock took the money got the hell out of the garbage city that is Miami. Xavier says he didn’t do it for the people, he did it for the paycheck. The Rock is trying so damn hard not to corpse. Rock says they manage to be so entertaining with llama penises strapped to their heads. The Rock continues his famous style of banter, calling Big E a mix between the Hulk and Steve Urkel. The Rock says they should come down to the ring so he can whip all their candy asses. New Day starts to leave but Rock calls out Plan B which is the Usos. The Rock drops Big E with a Rock Bottom. Xavier eats a double superkick from the Usos, a spinebuster and a People’s Elbow from The Rock. You know how I was talking about everything being a fever dream? I think that might still be the case, because I’m not entirely sure what just happened. This segment went from amazing to terrible to amazing to terrible like ten different times. New Day being in a segment with The Rock is awesome though. The off-script stuff at the start was so odd but weirdly organic, nobody does shit like that better than Rocky.
Yes, Kalisto is the US champ and all is right with the world again. Luckily, this isn’t a title match so his reign is confirmed to at least last longer than a day. Gonna have to hold our collective breaths when those Smackdown spoilers come around tomorrow night though. The Miz gets some offense in to start but Kalisto takes him out with a crossbody off the ropes. The Miz holds a lot of the domination in the match with Kalisto getting in the occasional kick or roll-up attempt. More chants for the Randy Savage cosplayer who will probably never be allowed into another WWE event after this. Miz goes for the Skull Crushing Finale but Kalisto counters into the Salida del Sol for the win. A solid enough match with a cool finish. Far too much Miz dominance for the pretty long match that it was.
Here’s your main event for the night. Nothing new here but clearly a filler match to lead into something for the end of the show. Reigns wrestling like absolutely nothing happened last night is odd. Mostly domination by the League, Ambrose getting some of his crazy wacky offense in but getting shut down every time he goes to tag in Reigns. Luckily, Cole doesn’t call a “wacky line” in this match. Reigns finally gets the tag in and takes out the League, hitting the drive-by dropkick on Rusev. Rusev kicks Reigns’ head off and makes the tag to Sheamus who hits a Brogue Kick, Ambrose breaks up the pin and suicide dives Rusev. Reigns hits a spear outta nowhere on Sheamus to win, and the two don’t stop beating the hell out of the League. The hit the Shield-style powerbomb on Rusev through the announce table which fucking EXPLODES. Steph comes out and says that was impressive and makes the big announcement. In the main event of Fast Lane, it’ll be a triple threat match between Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar.
Well, that’s not what I was expecting but that sounds like an interesting match. Sounds good on paper but we’ll have to see what it becomes in practice. Expecting a whole lotta interference in that one, but it should have enough fun spots to be a ‘good’ match. This is a bad spot for Reigns though, he’ll be the least cheered guy out of the three, especially on a PPV stage with a more smarkier crowd. The future of Reigns is not looking bright, for a multitude of reasons, but that’s a story for a different article.
Well, that’s it for a very interesting Raw. The first two hours being great, the third hour falling a bit flat. AJ Styles’ Raw debut still as surreal as last night, with a good match to start off with, showing that we’re gonna see some crazy stuff and get a bunch of matches we thought we’d never see. I’m super excited for a WWE with AJ Styles in it. The Rock appearance was great but that entire segment with him felt like an acid trip. A few filler matches plagued the show. If you had told me last week that this week’s Raw would have AJ Styles and The Rock on it, I’d have told you to get lost. Surreal is your word of the night. The future is very interesting, and I’m a lot more hyped to review Raws than previously. I’ll see y’all next week, thanks for reading.