Happy New Year everyone! I wish you Best-Wishes and Blessings for 2016!
Monday Night Raw TV Report for January 4th, 2016 – “A New Year, A New Confrontation”
Introduction Segment: Video Promo
Recap of the last couple of weeks featuring WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns and The McMahons is shown first.
Segment #2: Arena Promo
We go live to the building in San Antonio, Texas, and hear Principle Owner Stephanie McMahon’s music. She walks to the ring but is sharply cut off by the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He informs Stephanie that he is not looking for her, but wants to have a chat with Vince himself. Ms. McMahon spoils his request, as The Boss has not arrived yet.
She goes on a tirade about the fans only supporting him for a time being, then moving onto another “arrogant” wrestler who thinks they can win against The McMahons. She threatens that NO ONE beats a McMahon, but Roman warns back that “if anybody screws me, then you won’t be picking up your daddy in jail; you’ll be picking him up in a hospital.”
Stephanie walks away, and Reigns follows, greeting his friend, Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose, who is out on commentary for the first match after the break. During Dean’s entrance, clips of his and Owens’ fights over the last couple of weeks are played.
Match #1: Single – Kevin Owens VS. Neville
Neville starts fast with a hit and rocketing over the ropes with a twisting plancha! He continues the aerial attacks with a Shooting Star Press from the top turnbuckle to Owens on the floor! Neville hops on the apron but is stopped by Kevin, and the big, agile man takes over. He drives Neville from the top turnbuckle to the canvas with a spike-DDT, but Neville rolls to the floor for a break.
Kevin is still in control until he tries to shove Neville into the ring post and Neville flips out of it and does the same. “The Man That Gravity Forgot” gives Owens a 450-splash from the apron, then almost takes this after a two-count in the ring! he kicks Owens hard in the head in the corner, then props him atop the turnbuckle. Owens shoves him off, but Neville flips and lands on his feet. Neville tries again, but Owens trips him up and Cannonballs him in the corner while Neville was hanging upside down. He takes advantage and Pop-Up Powerbombs, then covers to get the hard-fought victory!
Winner via Pinfall: Kevin Owens
Post-match, Owens goes to powerbomb Neville again against the apron, but Dean makes the save. He brawls with Owens, then sets him up on the announce table and dives from the barricade with an elbow drop! Dean presses against him, holding Kevin’s head and says “you want a shot? You know where to find me?” Ambrose goes to the aisle and holds his Intercontinental Title high.
Segment #3: Backstage Promo
A limousine pulls into the garage and Vince McMahon exits. Jojo meets him and asks why he has not talked about the main event scenario. The Boss defines irony by saying that last week, he was in the hands of the law, and this week, he now is “the law.”
Match #2: Single – Stardust VS. Titus O’Neil
Titus starts out strong, but Stardust counters and dominates for a while. O’Neil hits back with a big clothesline and the Clash Of The Titans Spinebuster for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Titus O’Neil
Segment #4: Backstage Promo
Divas Champion Charlotte walks up to Becky Lynch and asks if she wanted the match between the two. Lynch denies that, but both agree to have it in the “spirit of competition.”
Match #3: Single – Divas Champion Charlotte VS. Becky Lynch (Non-Title)
They lockup up and push each other into the corner; they break it and lock up again, and Charlotte turns Becky over. Lynch comes back with a couple of armdrags and a sweep. She hops over and bridges out of a cover. It is back-and-forth with different covers for a bit until gains control after slamming Becky from the corner to the mat.
Charlotte is still governing, kneeing Becky a number of times. She wears Lynch down with a standing headlock, then a Figure-4 Necklock. She T-Bone Suplexes Lynch, then puts her on the top turnbuckle. Becky kicks Charlotte back and dives off, but the Divas Champ catches her. Lynch works her way out and slams Charlotte, then gains some momentum.
Becky almost takes it with a small package, then continues to fire up. She runs the ropes but is tripped by Ric; this distracts her and allows Charlotte to roll-up, but Lynch reverses into one of her own and takes this!
Winner via Pinfall: Becky Lynch
Post-match, Charlotte turns full-heel and lays the boots to Becky. She poses with her championship while Daddy struts in the background.
Segment #5: Office Promo
Mr. McMahon is talking with a man when Sheamus walks in. The bigger Irishman compliments Vince, and then is given the rules for his WWE World Heavyweight Championship bout later tonight; McMahon wants a completely clean contest.
Match #4: Single – Ryback VS. The Big Show
Ryback takes it to Show at first, but then the giant chokeslams him. Before he can continue, The Wyatt Family’s video plays and they are surrounding Ryback on the outside. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, Erik Rowan, and Braun Strowman beat down “The Big Guy,” then move on to decimate Show. Afterwards, Bray yells from the aisle that they are back with a vengeance.
Winner: No Contest due to Outside Interference
Match #5: Tag-Team – The League of Nations (United States Champion Alberto Del Rio and Rusev) VS. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey)
Jey and Del Rio begin, with Alberto headlocking Jey and giving him a shoulder-block. Uso counters a hip toss into a clothesline, then tags in his brother who splashes the U.S. Champion in the corner. Jimmy snapmares Del Rio, but is twisted with an armlock. Alberto switches with Rusev, who stomps away at Jimmy in the corner.
The Twin fights back with punches, but is kneed hard in the gut. Jimmy rams Rusev into the turnbuckle, then both Usos try a double-hip toss; that doesn’t work bout a double-flapjack does! Jey is in but is taken to the mat quickly. Rusev runs at Jey in the corner with an impressive overhead belly-to-belly suplex!
Jey is continuing to be controlled by Rusev for a bit longer. He comes back with quick punches and a Samoan Drop, then gets the hot-tag to his bro! Jimmy is all over Del Rio, who also got tagged in, but Alberto trips Jimmy up on the top turnbuckle. Jimmy is hanging, but ducks Del Rio’s diving foot-stomp. The Twins just about get the W with a superkick/splash combo, but Rusev broke up the cover! Jey soars through the ropes onto Rusev after ‘The Bulgarian Brute” kicked Jimmy hard on the outside. Alberto capitalizes with a hard kick and the diving foot stomp for the finish!
Winners via Pinfall: The League of Nations
Match #6: Single – Dolph Ziggler VS. Heath Slater (with Adam Rose, Curtis Axel, and Bo Dallas)
An elbow/collar tie-up starts, then both square off. Heath waistlocks Dolph, but Ziggler trips him up and ties him in a bow-and-arrow. Heath picks up Ziggler, but “The Show-Off” reverses into a small package and hits a dropkick and elbow subsequently. He also hits a neckbreaker, but misses a corner splash and eats a knee in his head.
Slater takes control for a while then Dolph retorts with his leaping-DDT. He gears up for the superkick, but Adam Rose gets his attention. Ziggler is rolled-up, but reverses it, however is pushed off. Bo now distracts, and Heath rolls up Ziggler again, actually getting it!
Winner via Pinfall: Heath Slater (with Adam Rose, Curtis Axel, and Bo Dallas)
Post-match, a stunned Dolph looks on as Heath declares his new group to be the “Social Outcasts.”
Segment #6: Locker Room Promo
Roman is looking on intensely when Vince walks in. He goes over the same regulations for his title defense too, then walks away.
Segment #7: Arena Promo
Tag-Team Champions The New Day make fun of Mike Tyson and his hover board accident, as well as Kalisto and The Dudley Boyz. They go to show us something on the Titantron, but their countdown turns into a very familiar one… the lights go out, pyro blasts, and Chris Jericho returns!
“Y2J” declares that ratings and Network subscriptions were down, so he decided to revisit to up the numbers! Jericho rants in his usual style, making fun of New Day along the way, and then proclaims he will be in the Royal Rumble Match!
Match #7: Six-Man Tag-Team – Tag-Team Champions The New Day (Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, and
Kalisto and Xavier are going to start, but Xavier wants Bubba since he was driven through a table by Ray on Smackdown! last week. Bubba obliges and chops Woods a couple times, then works over Kofi with a wristlock. Kalisto is in and does the same then Bubba is back and drops Kofi after a long stalling-suplex. The Lucha Dragon re-enters, and then tags D-Von. He tosses all New Day members to the outside, then Kalisto is launched from the ring by Bubba onto the trio!
Bubba and Big E. are in the ring now, and Big gives Bubba a belly-to-belly suplex. New Day dominate until Kofi misses a corner splash, and Bubba launches Kalisto again from atop his shoulders and the middle turnbuckle. The Lucha Dragon is all over Kofi and Big E., but Woods trips him up; Big follows with a splash! They triple-team Kalisto with kicks and exchanges for a time. Kalisto breaks free and hot-tags D-Von, who clotheslines Xavier and gives him a shoulder-tackle!
D-Von drops Kingston with a spinebuster, then hits another shoulder-tackle on Woods. He switches with Bubba who gives Bionic Elbows, but the New Day soon gets the W with a roll-up by Xavier!
Winners via Pinfall: Tag-Team Champions The New Day
Segment #8: Video Promo
The same montage that kicked off Raw re-airs to put over the main-event.
Mr. McMahon makes his grand entrance, donned in a sleeveless referee shirt to show off his muscles. The title is on the line, next!
Match #8: Single for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with Special Guest Referee – Sheamus (Challenger) VS. Roman Reigns (Champion) (Special Referee – Mr. McMahon)
Following formal introductions by ring announcer Lillian Garcia, Roman and Vince have a tug-a-war with the championship, which allows Sheamus to promptly slug away. Vince produces a fast two-count, then Sheamus continues the beating.
Reigns counters and kicks Sheamus in the corner, but is whipped hard into the opposite one. he hits back again with fists and a flying forearm, then consecutive clotheslines in the corner. He clotheslines Sheamus over the ropes, but Vince will not count yet. Sheamus throws Roman into the steps, and McMahon becomes “distracted” across the ring. Sheamus uses the opportunity to hurl the steps at Reigns.
Sheamus has Roman in a chinlock now, but Reigns battles out. He is quickly turned over with a running-knee by Sheamus though, and “The Celtic Warrior” continues his assault. He gives Roman a rolling senton, but cannot finish. Reigns strikes back and spins him around with a backdrop! He fires up again and hits the Drive-By running front-dropkick!
In the ring, Roman gives Sheamus a Samoan Drop, but McMahon counts real slow, allowing Sheamus to kick out. McMahon plays more games with refereeing, which frustrates Reigns to the point he Superman Punches The Boss!
Unfortunately, he realizes what he’s done and can’t get the pin; Stephanie marches out and begs Roman to stop beating up her father. She is flipped into the ring and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion gears up for the Spear, but is met with a couple of Brogue Kicks! Sheamus covers and Scott Armstrong, The Authority’s “paid referee” charges out and counts, but Reigns still raises his shoulder before three!
Armstrong and Sheamus argue, then Roman knocks out Scott. He Spears Sheamus and a third referee runs in to make the count; Reigns prevails to retain!
Winner via Pinfall and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Roman Reigns
Post-match, Vince berates referee Armstrong then informs Roman that his next title match will be at the Royal Rumble. This time, Reigns will be putting his championship up against every other superstar entered in the Royal Rumble Match! The show closes with this major twist.
End Of Raw.
This was an okay Raw to kick off the New Year; some very good story-telling and a couple of surprises, but also a couple of matches that we could’ve done without. Onto the critiques:
Excellence: matches between Owens/Neville, Charlotte/Lynch, Usos/League, Dolph/Slater, and Reigns/Sheamus.
Loving the story between Ambrose and Owens, and it is bringing the I.C. Title to prominence again. These two can go at it for a long while for my liking! Glad Charlotte turned completely bad, and now it will be great to see her aggressive and deliberate-cheating side.
Chris Jericho returning was a nice startle, and even though it was more of the same, he still hasn’t missed a beat. Liked The Wyatts destroying both Show and Ryback; with Bray’s proclamation, I hope they really do make a significant impact this year and end up in the main-event scene for a long while.
I am intrigued by The Social Outcasts and hope this is a new, much-needed push for these guys. They all can hold their own on the microphone and are decent wrestlers, so it’s time to give them some attention for a little while. I was skeptical at first about the League of Nations forming, but they have been pushed as a forceful group, which is very good; their rivalry with The Usos is going well, and I want it to continue!
Bogus: Titus/Stardust should’ve been on the Main-Event show, not on Raw; I know they’ve been feuding for a while, but Titus got the clean win, so now there’s nowhere to go and it was pointless/boring.
Seen The Dudleyz VS. The New Day enough, so was not thrilled with the Six-Man rematch from last week/last year’s Smackdown!
While I absolutely expected McMahon to play favorites at one point, I did not expect the announcement of the Royal Rumble Match being for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. I’m not sure what side I’m on; it provides more interest for the ‘Rumble, but it takes away from the specialty of the Rumble winner going to WrestleMania for that Championship Match. I will wait at least one week before finally deciding.
Overall, a decent start to 2016; we shall see if it can continue at least on this level and then raise it. until Smackdown!, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Fans!