We continue towards Royal Rumble in the town that brought us WrestleMania 30, New Orleans! With less than two weeks to go, who else is going to make their presence in the ‘Rumble match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? What other stakes may Champion Roman Reigns face at the Network/Pay-Per-View show?
As well, the Intercontinental Championship match did not conclude properly last week on Smackdown!, so what is going to be the next development in the rivalry between I.C. Champ Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens?
The League of Nations has been dominate the last few weeks, so who will be their next opponent(s)?
The Divas Championship contest ended in controversy too, with Charlotte using the ropes to gain the pin. Can Becky Lynch use this as evidence for another shot at the title, or will “The Nature Boy’s Girl” be able to move on?
Lastly, both will the first Hall of Famer for 2016 be announced and a Happy Birthday to Raw! Exactly 23-years ago tonight, WWE’s now flagship program started up and has been the staple in professional-wrestling television for the last 17 and ¾ years!
All this and much more, so read on!
Monday Night Raw TV Report for January 11th, 2016 – “’One For All And All For One’”
Introduction Segment: Video Promo, Welcoming, and Arena Promo
A recap of WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns’ struggles with The McMahons airs, then Michael Cole greets us live from New Orleans. Most of the roster is on the stage, and Vince and Stephanie strut out, seemingly happy.
They talk about the wrestlers on the set, building them up on their chance to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion as the title is on the line in the Royal Rumble match. The lights go out and The Wyatt Family appear by the commentator’s table. Bray Wyatt declares “like I’ve said before, ‘anyone but you Roman.’”
The WWE World Heavyweight Champion himself now interrupts. He meets Mr. McMahon and Mrs. Levesque in the ring, asking them “what happens if I win?” Stephanie laughs at that inquiry, and Vince books him in a “One VS. All match,” which will involve anywhere from 1/3 to half of the Royal Rumble roster. However, Vince also books Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose in the first match of Raw, facing Sheamus who just hits him on the back. Sheamus walks over a tumbled Dean to the ring, and their bout is next!
Match #1: Single – Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose VS. Sheamus (Non-Title)
Sheamus is pounding away, then gives Dean a backdrop. The IC Champion turns Sheamus around in the corner and punches, then bites him. Sheamus kicks back and throws Ambrose to the outside, then hits him tied up against the ropes. He clotheslines Dean on the apron, and then chokes him with his boot. Sheamus wears down Ambrose with a grounding rear chinlock. He is countered for a short bit, but hurls Dean into the corner barrier, and then suplexes him onto the announce table.
Back in the ring, the “Celtic Warrior” tears at Ambrose’s chin until Dean punches back. He drops out of a suplex and hits Sheamus with a boot out of the corner. Dean chops away and gains momentum, ducking a Brogue Kick; he follows with a dive through the ropes!
Sheamus is back in control, tying up “The Lunatic Fringe” in a modified-Cloverleaf. Dean puts Sheamus to the mat with a swinging neckbreaker, then ascends the turnbuckle. Sheamus hits him atop the turnbuckle and goes for White Noise, but Dean counters and plants Sheamus with a Tornado-DDT from the other corner for a near-fall!
Dean dives off another turnbuckle with an elbow drop, then measures Sheamus against the ropes. Sheamus elbows back, and turns a Dirty Deeds attempt into another White Noise Try. Ambrose reverses and clotheslines Sheamus hard, sending him to the floor. Dean runs again, but Sheamus meets him with a forearm! He chucks Ambrose into two corners on the outside, then the barrier behind the commentators. He throws him into the steps, but Ambrose drops out and shoves Sheamus into the post. Referee John Coan gets to ten for the finish.
Winner: None due to Double Count-Out
Post-match, Ambrose throws Sheamus around again, and Sheamus ends up busted open in his forehead. Kevin Owens suddenly appears and fights with Dean until referees separate.
Later tonight, Chris Jericho will host his “Highlight Reel” show with Tag-Team Champions The New Day!
Segment #2: Backstage Promo
Rene Young is by the Trainer’s Locker Room, waiting to get a word with Dean Ambrose. “The Lunatic Fringe” barges out and vows to continue his fight.
Segment #3: Backstage Promo
Vince and Stephanie are chatting in the hallways when they walk into Paul Heyman. They listen to him sucking up, and then Heyman pitches Brock Lesnar VS. the winner of the Royal Rumble at WrestleMania for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Vince isn’t a fan, and all three walk into his office to talk further.
Stardust makes his entrance and will be wrestling Titus O’Neil after the break!
Match #2: Single – Stardust VS. Titus O’Neil
Titus governs most of this until Stardust gains an advantage, stomping in the corner. He gives O’Neil a side-effect slam and climbs the turnbuckle, but drops to his feet and runs into Titus’ “Clash Of The Titus” sit-down spinebuster; Titus takes this one!
Post-match, as O’Neil is celebrating with fans, Cody attacks him from behind in frustration.
Up next is the “Highlight Reel!”
Segment #4: Arena Promo
Chris Jericho enters grandly and a replay of his return from last week is shown. He soaks in the “Y2J” chants from the crowd, then brags about the love on the internet his comeback has gotten. He declares that he will be the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion after Royal Rumble, but his guests now join him before he goes on.
Tag-Team Champions Xavier Woods, Big E., and Kofi Kingston have had enough of Jericho’s antics, but “Y2J” entices them more. The trio fire back with shots at Chris’ looks until The Usos interrupt. They want to go against The New Day, and Jericho offers to help out by being in their corner to even against the trio.
Match #3: Tag-Team – Tag-Team Champions The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E.) (with Tag-Team Champion New Day partner Xavier Woods) VS. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) (with Chris Jericho)
Kofi and an Uso start out with a measure, then both Twins double drop Kingston. Jey stays and controls until Kofi makes the tag to Big E. he comes in and is also double-teamed. Tags are continuously traded, then Jimmy winds up for the rear-end splash; he hits it but then is pushed from the top to the floor. Xavier brags on the outside with some trumpet playing, but Jericho faces him and scares him to the stop of the stage.
Kofi is leading until he misses splash. Big E. is now in and splashes Jimmy on the apron. Jey eventually gets the hot-tag from his brother, and is all over New Day. He runs off the ropes and rockets himself over with a plancha onto both E and Kofi. A bit later, Big. E. is superkicked and so is Kofi, but Xavier yanks down Jimmy as he went for a splash. Jericho gets back at Woods, using his trombone against him. The distraction allows Jimmy to roll-up Kofi in the ring for the victory!
Winners via Pinfall: The Usos (with Chris Jericho)
Segment #5: Office Promo
Stephanie tells Paul that Mr. McMahon is still annoyed with his insistence on Lesnar competing at WrestleMania. She is trying to convince him to put Lesnar in the Royal Rumble, but Paul E. declines on Brock’s behalf. McMahon fires back, informing Heyman that her father has made it so that Brock HAS to wrestle in the Rumble.
Segment #6: Video Promo
John “Bradshaw” Layfield is in the ring to reveal the first inductee into the 2016 Hall of Fame; this person is “the man they call ‘Sting!’” A montage of his career in WCW and WWE plays.
Match #4: Eight-Man Tag-Team – The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, Erik Rowan, and Braun Strowman) VS. The Social Outcasts (Heath Slater, Adam Rose, Curtis Axel, and Bo Dallas)
Rose and Strowman begin, and then Adam quickly switches with Bo after getting shoved. Dallas does them same, and Curtis is in, but gets pushed to the mat with a shoulder block. This breaks down quickly after Ryback gets involved.
Winner via Disqualification: None due to Interference
Post-match, “The Big Guy” helps fend-off The Family.
Segment #7: Backstage Promo
Kalisto is interviewed and gives a typical face promo about overcoming his larger opponent, U.S. Champion Del Rio.
Match #5: Single for the United States Championship – Alberto Del Rio (Champion) VS. Kalisto (Challenger)
Del Rio is aggressive early, driving Kalisto to the mat with a spike-DDT. The Lucha Dragon tries a comeback, but is countered quickly from a hurricanrana into a sit-down powerbomb. He continues to work him over for a while until Kalisto counters with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. He tries a dive-to-the-outside, but Alberto moves and Kalisto hits the floor mat!
As we comeback, Kalisto is on the top turnbuckle, but Del Rio moves again and Kalisto eats canvas. The Champ carries on ruling, snap-suplexing him. He climbs the turnbuckle, but is crotched by Kalisto. The Dragon follows with a hurricanrana from the top and both men are down! Kalisto increases momentum until, almost getting this with a kick!
Alberto hits Kalisto on his back atop the turnbuckle, then brings him backward with a reverse-suplex! He hangs Kalisto upside down in the corner then goes for his double foot-stomp, but Kalisto moves and plants him with the hurricanrana-facebuster! 1 – 2 – Del Rio gets his shoulder up!
Kalisto sets up for the Salito-Del-Sole, but Alberto stops him. He picks Kalisto up from behind, but Kalisto reveres into a victory-roll for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall and NEW United States Champion: Kalisto
Segment #8: Backstage Promo
JoJo interviews Divas Champion Charlotte, who is with her father Ric. She claims to be the “victim” in her situation with Becky Lynch; Flair concurs.
Match #6: Single – Brie Bella (with Team Bella member Alicia Fox) VS. Divas Champion Charlotte (with Ric Flair)
This one doesn’t even get started when Becky Lynch charges in and attacks the Divas Champion. She hammers away on Charlotte for a while, until more referees break them apart.
Segment #9: Backstage Promo
JoJo catches up with an infuriated Lynch, who is upset with Charlotte for going back on her word.
After a review of Paul Heyman and Stephanie’s confrontation, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns makes his entrance for his huge challenge, next!
Announcements for Smackdown! this week include Neville and Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose taking on Sheamus and Kevin Owens; The Dudley Boyz facing The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper and Erik Rowan) in a Tables Match; and Kalisto defending his U.S. Title against Alberto Del Rio!
Mr. McMahon and Stephanie bring out Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio, The Wyatt Family, Kevin Owens, Tag-Team Champions The New Day, The Ascension (Viktor and Konnor), Stardust, and Tyler Breeze; they decide on Owens to begin.
Match #7: One-Vs.-All – WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns VS. Kevin Owens,
Owens starts out with Reigns with a lockup, then Roman gives Kevin a shoulder-block. Owens goes to the outside for a break, then powers over for a time.
Owens is still managing this bout until Reigns counters a side headlock with a backdrop. Kevin hits back with a semi-superkick, but only gets two! He goes for a running-senton, but Roman moves and Owens hits the canvas!
Reigns boots back out of the corner, then both trade punches. Roman gets the advantage with a leaping-clothesline, but runs into an elbow form the corner. He turns Owens around and carries him to the corner. He hits nine clotheslines, but can’t get the tenth. He counters Kevin again and gears up for the Superman Punch.
The Ascension hop up on the apron, so Roman knocks down them, then Stardust. Vince orders the rest of them in, and Roman gives it a go to defend himself, but the numbers are too many. That is until Brock Lesnar walks out!
He dismantles everyone with clotheslines and suplexes, then is left alone in the ring with Reigns. “The Beast” picks up the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and drops him with an F-5, then walks away with Heyman. Brock and Roman stare at each other, with Reigns even smiling, to close the show.
End Of Raw.
I quite enjoyed this Raw, both from a story-telling point and match-wise. Here’s my take:
Excellence: matches between Ambrose/Sheamus, Usos/New Day, and Kalisto/Del Rio. Heyman is always at his best in verbal, and tonight was no different.
Enjoying the feud between Usos/Jericho/New Day; I see Usos taking the Tag-Straps soon, perhaps at the ‘Rumble or next week, then a rematch at ‘Rumble.
Very cool, and a little surprised (I don’t know exactly why), that Sting is the first Hall of Famer for 2016. obviously well-deserved, but I just wasn’t thinking him for the main-person this year.
Was very surprised that Kalisto took the U.S. Title; glad he did though, as has achieved a lot of fan-momentum lately, so it was smart to capitalize on it, even if his title reign may be short.
LOVED the aggressiveness and furiousness from Lynch tonight, thereby adding more intensity to their feud.
Bogus: Again, could’ve done without Stardust/Titus; this “feud” does nothing for me, so end it! Where was Paige?
Instead of Social Outcasts meeting Wyatts, one of them, other than Slater, should’ve faced Ziggler again, to continue with Heath upsetting Dolph last week.
I understand the meaning behind Lesnar also F-5ing Reigns, (him being a “monster” and not caring about anyone but himself) but I think he should’ve left the WWE World Heavyweight Champ alone, to create a little question leading to the ‘Rumble, and not having them touch each other until then to keep us wondering who will have the power.
Until Smackdown!, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Fans!