Reviews WWE

RAW Review for 2/1/16 – Slow Road to Fast Lane

Hello everyone and welcome to your weekly prescribed dosage of Raw review, administered by your (un)licensed practitioner, Dan. Last week, we saw the Raw debut of AJ Styles as he faced off against Chris Jericho in a surreal match-up. The Rock made his return to Raw, causing chaos and going off-script in a series of promos that varied from gross to great. The main event for Fast Lane was announced and it’ll be a #1 Contender’s match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, pitting Reigns, Ambrose and Lesnar against in each other in a triple threat. We have entered February and Wrestlemania is just over the horizon now, the hype is building and building and it’s up to WWE to keep it going. Though we have little faith, we dive in once again.

The Beast himself opens the show to a tremendous pop. Heyman hypes up Lesnar’s match at Fast Lane. Heyman says Brock will IMPRISON Ambrose and Reigns into Suplex City. Heyman says Lesnar will F5 both of them, stack em up and pin them both, head to Wrestlemania and conquer the billion-dollar trophy husband to become the reigning, defending, undisputed champion of the world. Heyman says Ambrose used to ride the shortbus to school, he’s a wacko, a psycho, demented, etc. Ambrose comes out and JBL reiterates this fact by saying “that man ain’t all there”. Ambrose marches right to the ring and says it’s cozy in the lair of the beast. Ambrose says he doesn’t really wanna fight Lesnar, but he wants that title more than anything. He knows he’s gonna get beat up, but that Brock better give him the worst beating of his life cause he’s the “Iron Man of the WWE”. Very solid promo from Ambrose despite the downplaying from commentary who just calls him a crazy wacky lunatic.

Kalisto vs. Rusev***

A great match of power vs. speed with Rusev countering all of Kalisto’s high-flying offense with his power, dropping him with powerbombs and even catching him off an outside dive with a brutal kick. Kalisto gets a sequence of moves in that JBL calls ‘flippy-floppy things’, going for a crossbody but getting caught into a big spin-out slam. Kalisto drills Rusev’s face into the mat with a headscissors, dropkicks him outside and gets caught on the crossbody attempt again, Kalisto jumping out and dropkicking Rusev into the steps. Kalisto rana’s Rusev into the barricade and slides into the ring to beat the 10 count, Kalisto wins. A fun match for the time it was, with an actually good count-out finish.

Reigns and Ambrose are mumbling backstage while looking at the WWE title on display. Steph wanders in and taunts Reigns about holding it just 8 days ago. Steph alludes to Ambrose turning on Reigns, saying no one saw Rollins’ turning on the Shield coming. Brie is backstage talking about how Nikki is doing since surgery, saying that she’s doing well, sitting at home and healing. Charlotte interrupts and taunts Brie about it in a robotic promo.

Social Outcasts vs. The Usos*

Lillian announces the Usos as GRAMMY AWARD WINNING. Yes, that’s what she actually said. Can someone please check on Lillian to see if she’s okay? Things have not been going well for her lately, and she’ll never live this one down. Good lord. They even replay her saying it after the commercials. Brutal. Slater says The Outcasts are minus one member tonight, cause Bo Rida is in the studio mixing those *Heath Slater beatboxing* beats. The Axel Rose tag team picks apart Jey for a good few minutes, until Jimmy gets the tag in and the match becomes your usual Young Bucks superkicks into Jey winning with the top rope splash. The ‘superkick party’ spots are so shameless and overdone, but I guess that made sense with the ‘Red Dragon’ references to Slater & The Outcasts. What a mess.

Time for MizTV with none other than AJ Styles. Miz says MizTV is a forum for storytelling, and AJ’s story is.. phenomenal. Miz makes references to being ‘too small’ throughout his life, but it never stopped him. Miz runs through his career of being everywhere but not being able to get to WWE. Miz says Styles being in the rumble was the most important moment of his life. Miz says he reminds him of Daniel Bryan, being short in stature and an indie darling, but being a great wrestler. Miz says he wants to take AJ under his wing and take him to heights he’s never been. Miz gets riled up about the crowd booing him, saying he’s been in the company for 10 years with numerous championships and Styles is nobody. Miz calls Styles a rookie redneck and Styles goes after him, beating him down and sending Miz running away. This was pretty much the perfect ‘get Styles over in the eyes of the casual fans’ segment. It was done so well. Miz built Styles up for the crowd by tearing him down, and the pop for Styles attacking him was huge. Great stuff.

Brie Bella vs Charlotte1/2*

Brie gets some offense in, using the D-Bry kicks at the start to level Charlotte, but Charlotte coming right back and dominating the match. Brie gets Charlotte in a sleeper and Ric gets on the apron to try and distract the ref. Charlotte slams her down but gets caught in a small package for Brie to pick up the win. Well, that’s unexpected. I’m guessing Brie might be the filler title defense for Charlotte at Fast Lane, assuming they’re going with the Charlotte/Sasha/Becky 3-way at Mania.

Erick Rowan vs. Big ShowN/R

What higher entity did I piss off to have to witness this match? Good lord. Thankfully it was short, slow strikes between the two into Show taking out the other members of the Wyatt Family, and chokeslamming Rowan to win. The Wyatts beat him down after, Rowan and Strowman lifting Show up and dropping him onto the steel steps. Luke Harper screams YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH as we cut to commercial, which was probably the best part.

Tyler Breeze vs. Titus O'Neil1/2*

I knew this match would have a depressing end when I heard Tyler’s music hit. Breeze gets in a small bit of offense, working over the legs of Titus but ultimately, Titus hits a big clothesline and the Clash of the Titus to win. I truly do not mind the random push Titus has been getting, assuming that it goes anywhere at all (which I really don’t expect given the fed’s track record) but having him go over Breeze is just so sad. Breeze’s main roster call-up has certainly been the most disappointing.

Triple H shows up at Brock’s locker room and taunts him about Ambrose getting in his face, asking if things are getting soft in Suplex City. Lesnar says we’ll see at Wrestlemania and the two face off. Y’know, I hate to say it, and I really do hate to say it, but unless they’re planning on monster pushing Ambrose, I think Lesnar/Triple H at Mania might be their safest bet.

Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler**1/2
Another match in this series. Owens launched Ziggler into the air and into the timekeeper’s area within the first minute of the match. Owens remains dominant after the commercials, Kev destroys Ziggler and banters him while doing it. Owens smashes Ziggler’s face in with a forearm, Ziggler tries to fight back but gets a lariat for his efforts. Owens waves goodbye and throws him into the ropes for the powerbomb but Ziggler hangs onto the ropes and superkicks him off the apron. More back and forth between the two including a sharp superkick from Owens. Owens tears Ziggler off the apron and hits a cannonball, and tries to finish with the pop-up powerbomb but Ziggler jumps off and hits a Zig-Zag to win. A pretty decent match with a surprising finish, I don’t know why Owens is losing a match clean right now but it’s certainly not a good thing. This feud seems to be going with absolutely no direction and I’m not sure where either guy is gonna end up going out of it.

Sasha Banks vs. Becky LynchN/R

The Boss is here to wake me from this Raw-induced coma. Sasha says she’s back and she’s on her own, and nobody is going to stop her from becoming the champion. Naomi and Tamina come out seemingly a little pissed. Sasha says they’re still family. Naomi says there’s no hard feelings between them, they came out here to congratulate her. Naomi doesn’t want them to end up like Wiz Khalifa and Kanye. Amazing. Naomi and Tamina stay at ringside to support Sasha. A back and forth contest between the two, Becky trying to work the arm and Sasha forcing her into the corner, hitting the double knee stomp. This match was getting real good and was tossed out due to Tamina and Naomi pulling Sasha out and beating her down. Becky made the save and the two stand tall. An interesting way to turn Sasha face here, but not a bad one, certainly wished we got more of the match though. I have no complaints about more meaningful storylines for the women though!

Jericho is backstage talking about AJ Styles, saying he’s been thinking about him all week and his loss to him. He says he’ll be paying close attention to AJ’s match against Miz on SmackDown this week. Goldust is trying to make his tag team with R-Truth happen, but Truth isn’t a fan of it, calling Goldust a weirdo. Goldust brings up Lil’ Jimmy which personally offends Truth. What a thing this is.

Ambrose & Reigns vs New Day***
This is the main event of the evening, Heyman is on commentary. Xavier talks about bootygate, Big E clarifies that it’s not about Amber Rose’s booty tweets, but about The Rock’s comments. They shame Rock for his actions and Big E wants Rock to THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN. They cut to a kid dancing and New Day says he has good moves but they’ll still fight him. They say they’re gonna beat up The Rock’s cousin and The Rock’s cousin’s friend and refer to them as Ambreigns. Xavier brings up fanfiction and Kofi asks what that is, but thankfully we’re not going down that rabbithole. New Day truly are the best thing going today. Reigns and Ambrose trade tags dealing with Kofi, isolating him from Big E. Of course, with a quick commercial break, the tides have changed. Big E goes for the apron splash but Reigns moves and Big E takes a goddamn nasty bump and bounces to the floor. This match is pretty fun, nothing bad but nothing spectacular. Big E gets Ambrose in an abdominal stretch and starts smacking him on the ass to the ‘New Day Rocks’ beat. Truly amazing. Reigns gets the tag in and starts clearing the ring. The final stretch was a fun few minutes, everyone going spot crazy, Big E belly-to-bellying Reigns onto the announce table, and into the ring to finish Ambrose but Ambrose jumps out a Big Ending attempt, and Reigns gets back in to hit a superman punch, Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds to win. Lesnar’s music hits immediately after, and New Day attack Reigns and Ambrose from behind. Lesnar gets in the ring and drops Ambrose with an F-5, barely captured by the shittiest camerawork ever, to end Raw.

That’s another Raw in the books. I wouldn’t call it a bad show but it certainly wasn’t one of their shining moments, and the wrestling wasn’t anything to write home about, sans the opener and the main. The stuff with Sasha and Becky was good, it’s so refreshing to see the women get a quality storyline on the road to ‘Mania.  The MizTV segment was by far the best part of the show, and I never thought I’d ever say that. Miz hyped up Styles better than anyone could have. Fast Lane certainly looks to be a show with an awful lot of filler minus the triple threat match, but we’ll see what directions they branch off into as time goes on. That’ll do it for me, thanks for reading!

About the author

Dan Notarile

Hello everyone, I'm Dan. Writing has always been a passion of mine, and I'm always looking to write about new things. Combine that with the massive and varied world of wrestling, and you have me stoked about being on board with Wrestling With Words. From WWE to joshi puroresu, the writing will flow endlessly.

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