This week’s Monday Night Raw, the first of 2016, aired live from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
The night opened with Stephanie McMahon’s music but before she was half way down the ramp it was interrupted by that of Roman Reigns. They meet in the middle of the ring and it is not long before Reigns calls out Mr McMahon ignoring Stephanie altogether. Steph let’s us all know that the chairman has yet to make it to the building and proceeds to recap last week’s show which involved Vince being arrested only to return at the end of the night to setup tonight’s main even, Reigns will face Sheamus for the wwe world heavyweight title with special guest referee the chairman of the board. It is the typical back and forth between Roman and Stephanie. She let’s him know that he will be sorry by the end of the night. The highlight of the segment was Steph reminding Reigns that she is the boss and he is the help “something all these people she know a little something about”, a jab at the large latino population in San Antonio. Coming off the heels of the ” bone through the nose” comment Vince made about Roman’s family on last Monday, it seems like the McMahons are pushing the boundaries a little more recently. There’s nothing wrong with that. They are heels afterall.
There is a recap of Neville scoring a victory over Kevin Owens, then Owens attacking Neville and later putting Dean Ambrose through the announce table. Ambrose comes out to do commentary for the next match.
After the commercial break we learn that Brock Lesnar will be returning to Raw next Monday in New Orleans.
Kevin Owens vs Neville
Neville comes to the ring with tapped ribs, evidence if last week’s beat down. Neville starts out hot going over to top tips onto Owens. Owens gets around to the other side of the ring and Neville hits a shooting star press on KO on the outside from the top ropes. Neville continued to pull out all the stops with a 450 from the apron onto the floor. Owens managed to get the upper hand finally getting Neville into the tree of woe for the cannonball followed be the pop up powerbomb for the win. After the match Owens stares down Ambrose before attacking Neville again. Dean comes flying through the ropes for the save. Ambrose winds up putting KO through the announce table with a flying elbow from the railing. This three man feud seems awkward with Neville being the odd man out. It has already been announced that will defend the Intercontinental title against Owens on this week’s Smackdown. It may be that we eventually see a three way between them, it least then Neville will have more of a role that just fodder in the story between the other two.
Backstage we see Vince McMahon arrive at the arena. It turns out all charges were dropped against him.He channels Judge Dredd telling Jojo that tonight “I am the law.”
Titus O’Neill vs Stardust
This seems a bit odd. These two have been seen in video interludes on Raw for about the last two months and it appears it was all building up to a three minute match unannounced. There wasn’t much to this match. Each did their basic moveset and Titus pulled out the win with the clash of the Titus. Afterwards the announcers quickly moves on as if it had never happened. As short as the match was JBL didn’t manage to get in the flub “Neil DeGrassi Tyson”. All I could think of was how I’d totally watch a Canadian teen soap opera that took place on a space station.
Charlotte confronted Becky Lynch backstage about asking for a match tonight. As Becky is explaining how it’s all in the spirit of competition Ric Flair walks in, woos, and walk out, barely breaking stride.
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte
This match starts off an energetic back and forth showing the Becky can indeed hold her own against Charlotte. Charlotte is starting to perform more and more like Ric lately. Her matches have the same feeling that his did. You know how talented the Flairs are as wrestlers but they’d rather use cunning rather than skill to win. You can just see her wheels turning thinking of a way just to get over. Ric hops on the apron for the distraction and Charlotte rolls up Becky into a pin which is reversed giving lunch the pinfall victory with aid of a hand full of tights. Immediately after the 1-2-3, Charlotte attacks Becky going full heel. She then celebrates in the ring with her father. As a side note I want to discuss the commentary during this match. A couple weeks ago while Charlotte was have a singles match Becky was attacked on the outside by team BAD (well they poured eggnog on her). The announcers are still complaining that Charlotte didn’t help Becky and rather continued her match, which she won by the way. There are distraction finishes every single week and when we have a match that disrupts that pattern, the announce is outraged.
Vince meets with Shemus in his office and gives him the referees instructions and with a heavy wink gives this word that the match would be called straight down the middle.
We find out that Total Divas is coming back soon and it appears that they may be setting up a program between Paige and a pack of feral cats. I may be wrong about this.
Ryback vs The Big Show
Ryback quickly hits at clothesline and immediately sets up for Shell shocked. Big Show escapes and sends Ryback over the top rope (by the way Ryback has entered himself into the Rumble). The lights go out and when they come back on Ryback is surrounded by the Wyatt family. The Wyatt’s beat down the Big Guy and then turn their sight on Show. He fights off Rowan and Harper until he is face to face with Braun Strowman. The Wyatts then swarm and leave Big Show laying in the ring. As they exit Bray says that the Wyatt family will dominate the Royal Rumble.
Rusev and Alberto Del Rio vs the Usos
Usos start out by isolating Rusev. He turns it around be hitting a superplex on Jey. The League of Nations members wear down Jey until he shifted the momentum with the Samoan drop and got the hot tag to Jimmy. He trades shots with Alberto until ADR puts him in the tree of woe setting up for corner stomp. Jimmy avoids it while Jey tags in. Del Rio takes a superkick followed by a top rope splash. Rusev breaks up the count and Alberto finally hits the double stomp for the win. The announcers mentioned how the Usos were hoping to get another shot at the New Day’s tag team titles. This loss won’t help that.
Dolph Ziggler vs Heath Slater (with Curtis Axel, Adam Rose and Bo Dallas)
Slater is holding his own even dominating Ziggler at one point in the match until DZ his a big DDT to seeing the tide. Dolph good to the corner to set up sweet chin music and Rose hit the apron followed by Dallas. Heath then gets the roll up for the win. The foursome celebrate and as they hit e to of the ramp Slater says “trending now Social Outcasts” which is presumably there name of this be faction.
We find it that next Monday the Nature Boy Ric Flair will be on Steve Austin’s podcast.
Vince comes up to Roman in the room and gives him the referees instructions, this time with as more serious tone.
The New Day comes out for a prematch promo. The rent reenact Mike Tyson falling on a hoverboard then say they have a surprise for the WWE universe. We see a countdowm on the tron in a New Day style font. It then charges to Y2J style. Jericho appears saying that he had returned I’ve again to save the WWE. He reminds us that ratings and attendance have all been down and they need the shoot in the area that is Y-2-J. So he’s going to be in the Rumble.
The New Day vs Kalisto and the Dudley Boyz
Xavier starts the match by calling out Bubba who quickly take him out, bringing in Kofi. The face team tags frequently working on Kofi and the New Day and up on the outside allowing Bubba to launch Kalisto of onto them. After the commercial break New Day have control back. Big E his the apron splash in Kalisto. They isolate the luchador with corner strikes. Kalisto somehow fights out of it to give the hot tag to D-von who sets up for the flying headbutt to the crotch. Kofi pushes him off the turn buckle and the New Day win with the Midnight Hour to D-von.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Sheamus vs Roman Reigns(c)
Special Referee: Vince McMahon
The two men start it off throwing stiff blowed at each other. Vince seems to be calling it down the middle. This isn’t the case for very long as the action moves to the outside and the is not even an attempt at a 10 count. Sheamus then pounds Reigns with the steel steps right in front on Mr. McMahon and good he says nothing. After the break Sheamus is still in full control until the two fight to a double down. There’s us still no count. Roman regains momentum and hits a drive by followed by a Samoan drop. He makes the pin and McMahon takes his takes his time getting to the mat for the slow count. Sheamus kicks it at two. Reigns folks this up the a sit out powerbomb, Vince counts 1-2- and complains there’s something in his eye. The champ sets up the a spear bit instead hits a superman punch in the chairman. After a drive by, superman punch and slam to Sheamus on the announce table, Roman sets his sights on Vince. Just then Stephanie’s music hits. She comes down and gets in the apron and is sent flying into the ring as Reigns throws her dad the ropes. Roman sets up for a spear on Mr McMahon and here comes Sheamus with a brogue kick. Out of nowhere referee Scott Armstrong comes in with the fast count. Superman punch to Sheamus, superman punch to Armstrong, spear to Sheamus and a third referee, John Cone comes in to make the three count. Stephanie gathers her father so that they can leave ringside, but before they do Vince announces that the next time Roman Reigns had to defend his title it will be against 29 other men in the Royal Rumble match.
- Now that Charlotte has gone full heel, is Becky really the only face left in the divas division? Sure there’s Nattie but when was the last time she’s been in TV? All the rest, heels. This even includes Lana and Summer who are used in a wrestling capacity and Rosa mendes who is on maternity leave.
- What are they planning to do with the Social Outcasts? It’s hard to picture it but I hope they can be built to a level of serious contender. It’s no secret the crew is filled with jobbers, but its nice to see wwe focusing on factions more. In the attitude era there was DX, The Nation of Domination, Los Boricuas and the DOA. Four groups always battling it out. Now all of a sudden there the League of Nations and Social Outcasts to go along with the Wyatts and New Day. This could be a very good thing.
- Where is Darren Young, just where?
- Now with the WWE world heavyweight title being defended in there Royal Rumble match, what does this mean for the championship? Is it really seven possible that Roman will lose the title? If so to who? Will they pull the trigger on a young up and comer? Also how will they decide who gets a shot Mania? And in that note…
- Who is Brock Lesnar coming for when he shows up next Monday? Still he enter the Rumble to try and take what’s rightfully his? We’ll have to find out next week.