Reviews WWE

RAW Review for 2/22/16 – Here Comes The Money

Hello everyone, as per the usual, my name is Dan and I’m bringing you the Raw review. 24 hours removed from a Fast Lane that left us in a range of emotions from ‘holy shit’ to ‘zzz’ to ‘why’. For more on that, check out Skillcrane’s review right here. As for now, the rumor mill is swirling about some unknown huge thing that is supposed to go down tonight. The scoops have come in from across the internet with no specific details, so that adds an ever-so-cautious layer of excitement to tonight’s show which advertises… not much. All the fallout from Fast Lane and the start of WrestleMania hype is coming atcha in this weekly rendition of my attempt to keep a somewhat tight grasp on my own sanity. Into the breach we go.

A video of Lesnar attacking Ambrose in the parking lot, destroying him and slamming him into the windowpane of a limousine. Ambrose is loaded up into an ambulance and driven away. The Vincent J. McMahon Legacy of Excellence Award ceremony is opening the show, with Vinny Mac presenting, of course. He says nobody will forget tonight. Vince talks about his family’s legacy and the qualities of his father, and the winner of this award will share the same qualities. Vince says it’s his honor to present the award to.. Stephanie McMahon. The crowd showers the two with boos as Steph fake-cries about the honor of winning this award. Steph has some prepared remarks about her win but all Hell breaks loose when four words we thought we’d never hear again echo throughout the arena…


SHANE MCMAHON returns to Raw to a thunderous pop, like louder than a Rock pop. Holy shit, Shane O’Mac has finally come back. Shane declines a hug from his father to a tremendous pop, and says this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Shane says Steph doesn’t deserve the award for what she’s done. Steph says he’s ruining a moment, and hasn’t been here for 6 or 7 years, her and H have been running everything while he was gone. Shane alludes to Steph not knowing somethinng. Steph says they’ve ran it into the grounds, ratings are down and the plethora of injuries too. Shane reveals that he and Vince cut a deal long ago, and the only reason that Steph has been able to climb so far up the ladder is because Shane let it happen. Steph panics and asks if this is true but Vince says he needs to have a private conversation with Shane. Shane cuts Vince off and says that it’s all true, and at the time, it was ‘best for business’. Steph leaves and Vince wants to know what this is all about. Shane says this isn’t about money, it’s about legacy, it’s about the generations of McMahon’s and Shane kids. Shane says it’s simple… he wants control of Raw. Vince says he can’t just come back and pick up the whole family. Vince says it’s all about Shane embarrassing him and Steph. Vince says he’ll make a deal, he’ll give Shane what he wants, as long as Shane competes in a match. One night, one opponent chosen by Vince at the time and place he decides. The crowd ‘you still got it!’ at Shane. Shane says this certaintly isn’t his first deal with the devil, he agrees. Vince says something obviously vile because they censored like a full 5 seconds of him speaking. Vince says Shane’s match will be at WrestleMania.. against The Undertaker… inside Hell in a Cell.

Yes.. that all just really happened in the span of thirty minutes. This is all very real and I’m not entirely sure how.  I’m not sure anyone could have predicted anything we just saw but it’s happening. That has high potential to be the worst match ever, but I’m excited for it. I don’t know where to start here but a simple ‘what the fuck’ will have to suffice.

Neville & Lucha Dragons vs. New Day**3/4

From that, we go to a 6-man. A good way to relax the crowd after all of that being laid on them, I suppose. This is the death spot of all death spots here, I’m not sure how you make people care about anything that follows that opening segment. Especially when a good amount of this match is just New Day working over Neville. The boys go nuts for the closing minutes though, including a shooting star to the outside from Kalisto and a 450 off the apron from Neville, with Big E bumping like a madman as per usual. Rapid fire sequences leads to Kofi jumping off Sin Cara’s shoulders and hitting the Trouble In Paradise to pick up the win.

Reigns cuts a promo backstage about Ambrose’s condition but quickly transitions into an awkward promo about his match with Triple H at WrestleMania. Not good stuff from Roman here. His monotone, fluctuating intensity promos are not going to help him on the road to WM.

Brock and Heyman are out here. Heyman runs down the closing moments of last night’s main event and then rolls the footage of Brock murdering Ambrose in the parking lot. Heyman says there is no Shield that can protect Ambrose from Lesnar’s wrath. Heyman says no one else can be the main event when Brock Lesnar is on the card. Heyman compares Ambrose to ‘one of those hardcore kids’ who everyone thinks is cool and rebellious until someone walks up to them on the street and Heyman knocks his own mic to the mat to simulate what happens. I love Paul so much. The sound of an ambulance interrupts Heyman and it’s Dean Ambrose, who appears to have commited grand theft auto. What an absolute madman. Ambrose crawls out of the ambulance to the feet of The Beast. Brock walks over him and starts to leave, but Ambrose grabs a mic and screams that he wants a match with Lesnar at Wrestlemania, no holds barred street fight. Lesnar walks over and F-5’s Ambrose, Paul says that’s Brock’s way of accepting.

Well, holy shit. With just two matches we already have a surreal card for ‘Mania, the one thing I have to wonder is, how do they get a simple HHH/Reigns match over with just those two on the same card? It’s not looking good.

Ascension vs. UsosN/R

Dudleyz come out before and talk about them having to prove they weren’t just a nostalgia act. As for the match, what can I really say and what would you expect? Ascensions gets the cheap shot heel dominance, but the Usos come back with superkicks and a splash from Jey to win the match.

Jericho is out here to talk about his match with Styles, how he didn’t like him at first when he came to the WWE, but he respects him now, and calls Styles out. Styles comes out and cautiously shakes Jericho’s hand. This is interrupted by the Social Outcasts! They mock Styles and Jericho for kissing and making up, Slater says where he comes from, they call shaking hands after a fight being a coward. Jericho asks the crowd if they wanna see him and Styles as a team to an uproar of cheers. Jericho says their first match as a team will be against the Outcasts.

AJ Styles & Chris Jericho vs. Heath Slater & Curtis Axel**

A very fun but short match with the Outcasts being nuisances at ringside but being easily dispatched by Jericho and Styles. A real fun finish with Jericho getting Axel in the Walls of Jericho, and Styles taking out the rest of the Outcasts with a huge dive to the outside, Axel taps to the Walls. A fun match that was just to serve the ‘this feud is over, we’re pals now!’ purpose. The Outcasts do very well as the job squad that can make people look good while still being entertaining as themselves.

Reigns is backstage going to check on Ambrose but gets interrupted by Steph who says he has a match with Sheamus tonight. Steph alludes to Reigns potentially getting hurt and being unable to wrestle at Mania. They’re not gonna do what I think they’re gonna do right…?

Ryback, Big Show & Kane vs. The Wyatt Family*1/2
JBL and Cole talk about The Walking Dead during the Wyatts entrance. Cole’s random quip that he likes Michonne made me laugh out loud because it was so misplaced. Rowan puts his sheep mask on Byron who was horrified. This match gets eaten alive by the crowd with loud boring chants. Commentary banters about nothing. It’s a real shitshow. Ryback continues to attempt to be a workhorse but gets ‘Gillberg’ chants, of all things. The Wyatts start to takeover but Big Show gets the hot tag in to a huge pop. I shit you not. The big lads all brawl, and a small “Let’s Go Luke!” chant breaks out in the front rows. The Wyatts take control and Ryback walks out of the match, leaving his partners to fall victim to the Wyatts. Bray hits a Sister Abigail on Kane for the win. Not entirely sure where that Ryback walk-out comes from as there’s been no build to any dissension within their team. I can only pray to whatever deities are listening that this doesn’t end up in a Ryback vs. Kane WM match. This match was real bad but the closing breakdown moments were somewhat entertaining. I just have no idea where any of this leads. I feel like Vince has some kind of bomb implanted in his head that is set to explode if he doesn’t 50/50 book everything.

Ryback is being interviewed post-match and says he’s done with teams, he’s looking out for himself from here on out, he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He leaves us with this line “Glass ceiling, brass ring. Break it, take it.” Well, godspeed with that endeavor Ryback. I’m guessing he learned that bit of wisdom from his favorite book, The Secret.

Sasha Banks vs. Naomi**1/2

Finally, Sasha is here to save me as she always does. Naomi takes the cheap advantage by throwing Sasha into the top rope and Tamina running interference by cutting her down. After that, a short but good back and forth between the two. Sasha hits the standing double knee stomp and goes to the top rope but Tamina distracts her for Naomi to throw her down. Becky runs the assist and takes out Tamina, Naomi gets caught in the Banks Statement and taps out. Charlotte’s music hits and she’s dressed like the Bellas. She fake cries about the friendship between Sasha and Becky. Charlotte drops the act and starts her promowork of screaming into the mic. She reveals that there will be a #1 Contender’s match between Sasha and Becky and teases Becky that Sasha was about to attack her. Well, it’s happening folks. The Wrestlemania women’s title picture is gonna get very interesting between these three in the next few weeks. No way that doesn’t turn into a triple threat. Charlotte’s micwork is so loud and it hurts my ears. Her delivery includes a weird sarcastic tone that makes it so you can’t decipher when she is or isn’t being sarcastic. It’s just.. bad.

Steph is backstage questioning her dad’s tactics out there. Vince says he knows what he’s doing and there is no chance that Shane can win that match.

Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus*

There was really no way this match would get a good reaction out of the crowd, I mean come on, they had to know that. A steady stream of boos reigns down (no pun intended) on these two who work a match you’ve seen 10 times before. Not much to be seen but the kicker comes when Triple H’s music hits to a huge pop. A brawl breaks out between H and Reigns. The crowd is firmly behind Triple H. They boo a superman punch from Reigns and cheer Triple H nailing Reigns with the ring bell. A chant for Triple H even breaks out. H smashes Reigns face repeatedly into the table. Triple H beats Reigns to a BLOODY pulp and Triple H is still getting cheered. Triple H puts Reigns out with a pedigree on the steel steps, mocks Reigns’ fist cocking motion and hits the crotch chop. H grabs his belt, and raises his arms to a huge pop as Raw closes.

I can only describe that finish as the definitive death of Roman Reigns on live TV. This seemed like a write-off and I severely doubt that Reigns is main eventing WrestleMania after this. The segment itself was an awesome bloody mess, but the crowd reactions were swapped as to what they wanted. When H did this to Bryan, he got booed to Hell. 2 years later, he’s getting cheered for smashing Reigns’ face into steel steps. It’s simply incredible. Triple H is unintentionally the biggest babyface in the company now.

So, we got Shane vs. Taker, Ambrose vs. Lesnar and H vs….. ???. My one prediction is that Ambrose/Lesnar gets turned into the winner faces H in the main event later in the night. I wouldn’t mind that at all. Raw slowly sunk from the opening segment of the insane return of Shane. Everything that followed was just a slow decline. They put all their eggs into one basket on this show, and I suppose it worked. That’s all I got for this now. What a timeline we’ve entered. Thanks for reading, folks.




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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