Welcome folks to the first Raw review of 2016! I’m Dan, back from my vacation last week (Thanks to Trask for picking up the slack) and ready to indulge myself in some Monday night goodness. The main attraction of tonight is another chapter in the Reigns/Sheamus feud, another title match but this time, good ol’ Vince McMahon himself will be the special guest referee. Surely, this can only end well. As I battle sleep deprivation from staying up all night to catch WK 10, I dive headfirst into Raw to ring in the New Year.
Steph’s music hits but so does Reigns’ much to her disdain. They both respectively make their way to the ring and Reigns says Steph doesn’t need to be here, only Vince does. Steph says Vince isn’t here yet but he sure will be for his title match. Reigns says if he loses tonight, he doesn’t have a job anymore and can’t provide for his family, and nobody will take the title from him. Steph says no one faces off with Vince McMahon and wins.
Steph says after Reigns loses the title, she’s going to use him up and make him fight everyone until he’s broken down and can’t fight anymore. Steph brings up his family but Reigns stops her and says only she will have to worry about family tonight, cause she won’t be picking Vince up from jail, she’ll be picking up Vince from the hospital. Really good opening segment here, Steph was at her best. It’s a wonder what can be accomplished in a 10 minute, to the point promo, instead of a 25 minute goofy overbooked segment. A vignette is played after a commercial break revealing that the god of death, Brock Lesnar will be back next week. Thank you lord.
A rematch from last week’s quick upset, with Ambrose on commentary. Neville’s ribs are taped up from Owens’ attack, but he starts the match off by flying all over the place, diving at Owens. Neville’s advantage ends quickly with a sharp kick from Owens to the ribs. Owens gets Neville on the top rope and plants his goddamn head into the mat with a hangman’s DDT. The match is all Owens past this time, decimating Neville in and outside of the ring. Neville gets the momentum back with a 450 onto Owens from the apron. Neville just isn’t human. Neville and Owens fight on the top rope, but Owens knocks Neville down so he gets hung up in the ropes and cannonballs him. Owens finishes him with the pop-up powerbomb to win. Glad we got an actual match between the two and it was a damn good one at that. It’s criminal that Neville isn’t in a higher position right now. Owens goes after Neville again but Ambrose saves him. Ambrose sets Owens up on the announce table and puts him through with a diving elbow drop off the barricade. Jeezus. Really hope they make the Ambrose/Owens title rematch an extreme rules match. You gotta have these two just beat the holy hell out of each other with weapons.
Oh hey, the random backstage feud culminating in an actual match. Stardust dominates most of the match after a big Disaster Kick. Stardust works him over around the ring but Titus manages to hit a clothesline to turn things around, a big boot, and Clash of the Titus to win this match. On one hand, it’s nice to see these guys on Raw having somewhat of an actual match, on the other hand, the match wasn’t much at all.
Charlotte is backstage confronting Becky about them having a match tonight, Becky is excited but Charlotte is not. Charlotte agrees to the match ‘in the spirit of competition’. Ric Flair repeats the same line while wooing away.
Another match with the theme that the commentators keep repeating, “why is Charlotte such a jerk all of a sudden to her friend?”. These two are working the start of the match at a pretty high pace, solid sequences with not much awkwardness yet. Charlotte works more brutal against Becky while Ric Flair cheers her on in the background. I really wish Ric Flair would get off my TV, god do I wish. Charlotte gets Becky in a headscissors and tells her that this is what she asked for whilst she punches her in the forehead. Becky breaks Charlotte’s domination and hits some clotheslines to get a bit of momentum going. Becky hits an exploder suplex out of the corner and goes to capitalize but gets distracted by Ric. Charlotte goes for a sneaky roll-up but Becky counters into her own and grabs the tights to steal the win! Charlotte finally does the full heel turn and beats the hell outta Becky after the match and celebrates with her father.
Vince is harassing a small bald man backstage before Sheamus interrupts. Vince lays down the referee ground rules for Sheamus, no foreign objects, no biting, etc. and Sheamus will obey his laws. Vince says may the luck of the Irish be with you in a smug voice with a sly grin.
Michael Cole called this “an interesting match” to start and he couldn’t be more wrong. A few seconds of action and the match ends in Wyatt Family interruption as they beat down Ryback. Didn’t we already do this feud before? The Wyatts set their sights on Show and beat him down as well. I guess this all just serves as hype for the Rumble. Bray says that they will dominate the Royal Rumble and the Family throw up upside down Four Horsemen hand signs for some reason.
This is a whole lot of nothing new. Michael Cole continuing his streak of good commentary, called the League of Nations, ‘The Leg of Nations’ accidentally. The action isn’t bad, it’s just nothing you haven’t seen before considering all four of these dudes have been fighting for the past month+. The ending of this match is good though, lots of hard kicks from everyone and dives from the Usos. Del Rio uses a modified version of his new finisher, getting Uce hung up in the middle of the ropes and flying across the ring to deliver the double stomp and picks up the win. Fun stuff overall, just not too interesting.
This is really happening. Slater is out here with a cast of characters, including Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel and Adam Rose. What a squad. Slater holds his own against Ziggler, this is an actual match and it’s pretty enjoyable. Ziggler starts to tune up his dollar store Sweet Chin Music but gets distracted by Adam Rose. Slater gets him in a roll-up but fails, but Bo distracts Ziggler again for Heath to get another roll-up to get the three!! Heath wins! Heath grabs a mic and says he found himself some friends. Rose says they’re gonna go into the stratosphere. Axel grabs the mic and says THE CHAINS ARE OFF. Heath refers to his group as the Social Outcasts. An awkward group of promos but I guess that makes the name fit. I’m definitely okay with this random group of underused dudes. Not really sure what will become of it but it’s already super fun.
New Day are out here, bless us all. Big E says 2016 will be the most magical year. Big E says they’re gonna break Kalisto & The Dudleyz tonight like Mike Tyson broke his booty on a hoverboard. They recreate that scene for the people without internet. Kofi says out with the old, in with the New Day. New Day reveal a beautiful countdown titantron that is interrupted by a different countdown tron.. the likes of everyone’s favorite dad, Chris Jericho. Your dad is making his bi-monthly return home from touring with his garage band, sporting terrible facial hair as he does and a vest that doesn’t fit him. Jericho says he has returned to save the WWE. Xavier says they already saved the WWE, which I would agree with. Jericho calls them unicorn horn wearing jackasses. Yeesh. Jericho says ratings, Network subscriptions need a boost, they need a shot of Y2J. Jericho tries to get a ‘rooty-tooty-booty’ chant going against New Day. This is top ‘dad trying to be cool with pop culture banter’ stuff. Jericho enters himself into the Royal Rumble and calls New Day ‘trap queens’. Yeesh. This was levels of uncomfortable I couldn’t measure. Jericho trying to outbanter New Day was a complete mess, and his one-liners fell so flat. Jericho has no edge anymore, let’s just admit that and move on.
Honestly shocked the Dudleys are still here now that we’ve crossed over to 2016. Kinda thought they’d just vanish but, here we are. Not much can really be said here when 80% of this match is what we’ve seen over and over again. Kalisto brings variety into this match, and of course New Day are great, but Dudleys… yeah. Mostly New Day domination in this one. A brutal spot occurs when Kalisto is laying over the apron Big E hits a huge splash on him, rest in pieces Kalisto. The man just won’t stop taking terrible bumps. Kalisto continues to get decimated by New Day until he finally makes the tag to Bubba. We’ve reached the time for infinite spots portion of the 6 man. Dudleys and Kalisto take everyone out. Bubba and D’Von go for the headbutt to the nuts but Xavier throws D’Von down and Big E & Kofi hit the Midnight Hour to pick up the win. Decent enough match here. New Day as usual are the real MVPs.
We’ve reached the main event, folks. Reigns is already falling victim to the obviously biased referee in the earlygoings. Vince pretending not to see Sheamus smashing Reigns in the head with steps. It’s your usual antics here. Sheamus is dominant and when Reigns gets the advantage and tries for a pin, it’s a slow count. Vince even feigns an eye injury and saying he couldn’t see it. Of course, Sheamus gets the fast counts. The match itself is obviously too plagued by this to be anything too special. Vince as always is a great TV villain though. Reigns hits Vince with a superman punch and has had enough. He beats the hell out of Sheamus all around the ring. Reigns sets his sights on Vince but Steph interrupts. Reigns shoves Vince into Steph to knock her down. Sheamus nails Reigns with a Brogue Kick outta nowhere. Scott Armstrong, the elusive crooked ref himself, comes down to count but Reigns kicks out. Reigns hits a punch on Armstrong and a spear on Sheamus. John Cone comes down and finally counts the three. Some wacky stuff here, but it doesn’t end there. Vince grabs a mic and makes an insane announcement. Reigns will be in the Rumble.. and the Rumble match is now for the championship.
Well.. that is one helluva shakeup, but I think that can end very badly as well. I really don’t know how that is gonna end up, and I guess that makes it more exciting. We’ll see what happens, folks. A huge ending to a very bland Raw. That’ll do it for me. Thanks for reading.