WWE Raw for January 2, 2017
Watch: USA Network, Hulu
Amalie Arena – Tampa Bay, Florida
Welcome once again Wrestling With Words readers to my first Monday Night Raw review of 2017! Tonight Goldberg makes his return to Monday Night Raw and Sami Zayn battles Braun Strowman in a Last Man Standing match. There is much more sure to go down on the first Raw of the year so lets get into the review!
To kick off the show Mick Foley is in the ring to wish everyone a happy new year and to show off his new haircut. He also makes a joke about forgetting the name of the city he’s in like he’s done in the past. Foley says that one of his New Year’s resolutions is making sure that Kevin Owens defends his Universal Title by himself without the help of Chris Jericho. Kevin Owens’ theme hits and he makes his entrance with his best friend Chris Jericho at his side. Kevin Owens asks Foley if he thinks it’s funny to abuse his power and suspend Chris Jericho above the ring in a shark cage at the Royal Rumble. Kevin Owens also doesn’t think it’s fair to give Roman Reigns another title match after he was already beaten at Roadblock. Mick Foley agrees to wipe the slate clean because it’s a new year. So Mick Foley gives Kevin Owens the opportunity to premiere the Kevin Owens show tonight with his first guest Goldberg. Stephanie McMahon comes out to say that she stands by Mick Foley’s decisions as Raw General Manager. Stephanie McMahon then books a United States Title match with challenger Chris Jericho were if Roman Reigns gets counted out or disqualified he will lose the United States title. Jericho says he wants Seth Rollins banned from ringside so then Stephanie books Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins were the loser will be banned from ringside during the United States Title Match and that match is right now.
This is quite the interesting stipulation for the Rollins/Owens match that keeps things somewhat fresh for this everlasting feud and as always Owens and Jericho were the most entertaining people in the segment.
Seth Rollins def. Kevin Owens
Starting this match off Kevin Owens rolls out of the ring, but Seth Rollins dives through the ropes and takes him out. Kevin Owens gets back in the ring and again rolls to the outside, but Rollins lands another suicide dive taking out Owens. Back in the ring Kevin Owens starts to take control of the match until Rollins goes off the top rope and lands a blockbuster just before commercial break.
Coming back from break we see a replay of Kevin Owens landing a DDT which let him gain control of the match. Seth Rollins is trying to get on his feet, but Owens continuously keeps him down with hard kicks to the head and body of Rollins. Rollins gets up and runs at Owens, but Owens launches Rollins out of the ring. Kevin Owens goes for a running senton against the barricade on the outside, but Rollins gets out of the way and Owens goes back first into the unforgiving barricade. Both competitors roll back into the ring and begin to trade blows on their feet. Owens goes for the Pop-Up Powerbomb, but Rollins is able to counter it with an enzuigiri. Rollins lands a slingblade and then sets up a Pedigree, but Owens reverses with a back body drop. Owens runs at Rollins, but Rollins ducks under the ropes and sends Owens flying out the ring. The fight goes to the outside near the bell keepers area. Owens attacks Rollins with the ring bell and the referee sees it and disqualifies Owens so Owens is banned from ringside tonight during the United States Title match.
This match was just okay. We’ve seen these two go at it so many times now it’s hard for it to still be exciting on WWE TV.
Karl Anderson def. Cesaro
Sheamus is on commentary for this match and Luke Gallows is at ringside. Cesaro and Karl Anderson go back and forth with both wrestlers each having their moment getting the upper hand. Cesaro deadlifts Anderson and suplexes him for a near fall. Cesaro goes to the apron, but gets distracted by Luke Gallows allowing Karl Anderson to a land a hard kick on Cesaro sending him to the floor just before commercial break.
After commercial we see Cesaro lifting up Anderson from the ground and landing a huge suplex. Cesaro gets Anderson in the corner and stats hammering him up uppercuts to the chin. Cesaro then lands a springboard crossbody from the top rope for near fall. Cesaro tries to go for the big swing, but Gallows breaks it up from the outside. This makes Sheamus leave the commentary table and go down to ringside. Anderson is able to land a spinebuster on Cesaro for a 2 count. Cesaro lands a springboard uppercut for another 2 count and then goes for the Neautralizer, but Anderson gets out of it. Cesaro goes for the Sharpshooter next, but Anderson hangs on to the ropes. Cesaro takes Anderson to the top rope looking for a superplex, but Gallows hops onto the apron to distract the referee. Sheamus pulls off Gallows off the apron, but this shakes the ropes and sends Cesaro off the top rope. Karl Anderson lands a top rop catching neckbreaker and gets the 3 count for the victory.
This was a really good match for Raw. Cesaro displayed a lot of athleticism while also making Anderson look strong even with the outside interference from Gallows. I also love to see my boy Karl Anderson pick up a win.
Last Man Standing: Braun Strowman def. Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn comes out with a black eye from a brawl he had with Strowman last week. Sami Zayn dodges the first few strike attempts from Braun and lands a few punches of his own. Sami rolls out of the ring and lures Braun to the bell keepers area where has hidden a kendo stick. Sami gets Braun back into the ring, but Braun tosses Sami across the ring. Sami goes to the outside again and grabs another the kendo stick from under the ring and begins pelting Braun again. Sami goes for a moonsault off the barricade, but Braun catches him and drops Sami stomach first back onto the barricade. The referee begins to count, but Braun lifts him up and runs his head into the ring post. Sami gets up again and begins to fight back. Sami goes for the DDT through the ropes on the outside, but Braun catches him mid-air with a forearm. The referee begins to count again, but Sami makes it into the ring. Braun starts to pick apart Sami inside the ring having no regard for the 10 count in this match as we head into commercial break.
As we come back from commercial break and Braun is dominating Sami Zayn. Braun has Sami by the announcers table near the stage. Braun takes Sami backsage where Sami finds a pipe were he lands a few shots on Braun. However, Braun throws a giant plastic box at Sami which he is able to dodge. Sami finds a steal chair that he uses on Braun’s back. Sami takes Braun back to the stage, but Braun grabs Sami by the throat and tosses him to the stage floor. Braun irish whips Sami into one of the trons and then tries to powerslam Sami on the stage, but Sami gets out of it. Sami lands a few more shots with the chair on Braun and as him teetering on the edge of the stage. Sami sprints across the stage and lands a running crossbody on Braun sending both men off the stage through two tables on the outside. Both men are able to get on their feet before the 10 count however. Braun sends Sami down the ramp and back to ringside were he lands a running powerslam on Sami. Sami breaks the 10 count again however, but Braun lands another running Powerslam. Braun breaks the count on purpose several times before landing a third powerslam on Sami Zayn that leaves Sami down for the 10 count.
After the match a stretcher comes out for Sami Zayn, but after Sami is loaded onto the stretcher Braun attacks Sami Zayn some more and tosses him into the barricade.
This was an entertaining match that had lots of back and forth action which is impressive due to the size differences of both men. I’m a bit shaky on Braun winning this one however, but with Braun attacking Sami after the match I think Sami still has a chance to come out of this feud on top.
The New Day make their entrance after a commercial break to cut a promo. They say that overall 2016 was a good year for them. The New Day announces next that they are entering the Royal Rumble match. The New Day are about to go over their New Year’s resolutions until Titus O’Neil interrupts doing his own version of the New Day catchphrases. He comes out dancing just like the New Day and asks if he can be the next member of the New Day. Titus shows off his talents by performing the New Day’s theme on the whistle. Xavier Woods rejects Titus O’Neil’s request to join the New Day so Titus O’Neil calls Xavier Woods the weakest link of the New Day. Xavier Woods calls out Titus O’Neil to a match, but Titus punches Woods in the face and rolls out of the ring. Titus calls for a referee to come out to get the match officially underway.
Xavier Woods def. Titus O'Neil
Back from the break the match is underway and Titus O’Neil is in control. Xavier Woods fires back with a kick to the stomach. Titus runs at Xavier while he’s on the apron and Xavier ducks under him sending Titus to the outside of the ring. Xavier Woods launches himself outside the ring and lands a plancha on Titus O’Neil. Back in the ring Xavier climbs to the top rope and goes for crossbody, but Titus catches him and lands a back breaker. Xavier Woods fights back and catches Titus with a sunset flip for the 3 count.
This was a short match that did allow Titus to get in some offense for a change. I thought Titus O’Neil was very good in this segment overall.
Backstage Bayley confronts Stephanie McMahon about making Dana Brooke special referee in her rematch with Charlotte last week. Stephanie tells Bayley that she never wanted her on Raw and that she will always be ordinary. Bayley tells Stephanie passionately that Bayley knows she belongs on Raw and has fought very hard to get here. Stephanie has a change of heart and decides to give Bayley a #1 Contenders match against Nia Jax to face Charlotte at the Royal Rumble.
Also backstage Cedric Alexander and his girlfriend Alicia Fox run into rival Noam Dar. Noam Dar apologizes to Cedric for getting off on the wrong foot with him. Cedric tells Noam Dar to apologize to Alicia Fox instead, but Noam Dar calls Alicia Fox sweet cheeks and leaves.
Drew Gulak (w/Tony Nese) def. Cedric Alexander (w/Alicia Fox)
This match starts off with Drew Gulak in control. Gulak lands a scoop slam on Cedric against the ropes that looked painful. Cedric starts to fight his way back into the match and lands a handspring kick on Drew. Tony Nese tries to distract the referee for Drew, but Alicia Fox pulls Drew off the apron. This catches the attention of Cedric which allows Drew Gulak to catch him off guard with roll up pin for the 3 count.
WWE United States Championship: Roman Reigns (c) def. Chris Jericho
In this match if Roman Reigns is counted out or disqualified he still loses his United States Title, and Kevin Owens is banned from ringside.
Jericho lands a flying dropkick that gets Roman right in the jaw for a near fall early on. Roman begins to fight back with a several running clotheslines. Roman runs at Jericho from the apron, but Jericho lands a springboard dropkick that sends Roman to the outside of the ring. On the outside Roman goes for the apron dropkick, but Jericho gets out of the way and Roman lands face first into the ring post. Roman barely makes the 10 count to get back in the ring as we head into commercial break.
Back from break and Jericho is in control. Jericho goes for a running bulldog, but Roman sends Jericho into the corner and the momentum shifts to Roman. Jericho is able to eventually lock in the Walls of Jericho, but Roman makes it out. Jericho springboards from the apron and catches a superman punch from Reigns, but Jericho is able to kickout after a cover. Jericho exposes the turnbuckle in the corner and grabs the US Title. While the referee is distracted with the turnbuckle Jericho tosses the title to Roman and then Jericho falls to his back to try to get Roman disqualified. The referee doesn’t fall for it however. Jericho gets up and lands a Codebreaker catching Roman off-guard ends in a near fall. Roman throws Jericho into the exposed turnbuckle and then lands a spear to retain his US Championship.
This match wasn’t bad and Jericho trying to get Roman disqualified or counted out worked well as something for them to do as they just had a match together a week ago.
TJ Perkins def. Brian Kendrick
Brian Kendrick attacks TJ before the match starts and takes control early on. Perkins fights back by landing a kick to the side of Kendrick’s head. TJ gets Kendrick on the top rope and lands a hurricanrana from the apron. Kendrick goes for the Slice Bread, but TJ reverses it into the Detonation Kick and goes straight into the knee bar that forces Brian Kendrick to tap out.
Rusev & Jinder Cass def. Big Cass
Enzo comes out in an electric wheelchair after an injury he received last week. This was supposed to be a tag team match, but since Enzo can’t wrestler Cass decides to take them both on himself. Jinder is on the outside messing with Enzo which causes Cass to get distracted. Cass takes a superkick from Rusev and it’s over.
#1 Contenders Match: Bayley def. Nia Jax
Charlotte comes out to do commentary for this #1 Contenders match. This match starts with Bayley going right after Nia, but Nia powers her down. Nia throws Bayley into the corner and lands a hip attack for a near fall. Nia locks in a cobra clutch that wears down Bayley, but Bayley manages to get out. Nia runs at Bayley in the corner again, but Bayley gets out of the way and Nia goes into the ring post. Nia fights back though and has Bayley pretty much beat. Nia climbs to the second rope to try and end the match, but Sasha’s theme hits which distracts Nia. Bayley runs to the second rope and hits a Bayley to Belly off the second rope for the victory. Bayley is the new #1 Contender for the Raw Women’s Championship!
After commercial Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho make their entrance to kick off the first ever Kevin Owens Show. They have a desk set up and a man standing in the middle of the ring with a giant Kevin Owens Show sign attached to his face which looks absolutely ridiculous, but is also perfect. Kevin Owens says that his guest tonight is Chris Jericho instead of Goldberg. Then Jericho puts all of Tampa Bay on the list for chanting Goldberg. Jericho also announces that he will be the third entrant in the Royal Rumble match. This doesn’t make Kevin Owens happy and he tries to talk Jericho out of entering the Royal Rumble match as Goldberg’s theme hits. Goldberg comes out to tell Jericho that he will be FIRST in the Royal Rumble match. Jericho is about to put Goldberg on this list until Goldberg tells him he’s gonna spear him and Jackhammer Owens. Kevin Owens gets in Goldberg’s face as Paul Heyman makes his entrance to speak on Brock Lesnar’s behalf. Shortly after that Roman makes his entrance and stands off with Goldberg. Then after Strowman enters the ring and says he’s gonna win the Royal Rumble match. Roman and Goldberg double spear Strowman out of nowhere and leave the ring going out to Goldberg’s theme to end the show.
Strong Effort - 7.0/10
There was a TON of wrestling on this show which is always a good thing, with most of the matches being decent. However, most of the wrestling we got is stuff we've already seen a million times before. The Kevin Owens Show at the end was a great segment overall and was the highlight of the show along with Sami Zayn vs. Braun Strowman. Overall, a strong effort!