Hello! Welcome to the Raw Report. I’m @TheMagnumDA. Tonight’s show opens with a dedication to “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka, followed by a touching opening video for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
We are LIVE in Little Rock, Arkansas. I love southern crowds…the people are typically vocal and exuberant.
Roman Reigns comes out to start the show! They recap Reigns losing the US Championship to Chris Jericho last week. Reigns says that nobody, including KO, can beat him one-on-one. Before he goes any further, Paul Heyman arrives and declares that a storm is coming to Raw. Brock Lesnar will be joining us TONIGHT. The fans start a huge GOLDBERG chant, and Heyman is obviously upset about this. He tells the fans Goldberg’s not here tonight. “Eat, Sleep, Elimination, Repeat!”
Reigns cuts him off, but Y2J and KO show up! They declare themselves to be the US/Universal Champions! The mere mention of Jericho winning the Royal Rumble makes KO’s skin crawl. KO declares himself the “longest reigning Universal Champion.” Well, the other guy only held it one day…so there ya go.
Seth Rollins comes out to a huge reaction! He tells the crowd he knows what it takes to win the main event of Wrestlemania, and that anything can happen. Yet ANOTHER interruption, as Braun Strowman arrives and stares down Roman as Brock Lesnar’s music hits!
Brock comes out and he’s PISSED. As he comes up to the ring, Sami Zayn (?!) climbs on Braun Strowman as a brawl breaks out! Lesnar suplexes Zayn, and Braun finally has his showdown with Lesnar. Strowman walks off, and Lesnar gets hit with a Superman Punch! Reigns clears house, and Lesnar returns serve with an F-5! What chaos!
Match #1 – Enzo & Big Cass vs. Rusev & Jinder Mahal
Graves goes into 2011 Michael Cole mode, saying that he gets “sick to his stomach” at the sight of Enzo & Cass. Why do I feel like that’s Vince speaking through the headset? Mahal and Enzo blow a spot in the corner, and Enzo tags Cass in. Cass then goes after Rusev, and clotheslines Mahal over the top rope! Man, Enzo just isn’t the same since his injury.
After the break, Enzo & Cass continue to double team Mahal. Rusev breaks up a roll-up attempt with a nasty slam on Enzo. Rusev kicks Enzo down and bodyslams him. I love how Rusev is trying to move quick in light of Jericho calling him a “Sloth” on Twitter.
Mahal hits a knee to Enzo and applies a rope choke. Rusev comes in and dominates Amore. He puts him in a bear-hug, and the crowd tries to rally Enzo. He gets to a corner and kicks Rusev in the corner, and follows that up with a Tornado DDT!
Cass is in and he’s a HOUSE OF FIRE. Fallaway slam and a splash for Mahal! The Empire Elbow hits for one, two, but Rusev interrupts! Mahal gets a roll-up on Cass, but Cass nails him with a nasty boot. Cass and Enzo hit the Rocket Launcher for one, two, three! Enzo & Cass pick up the victory. Sloppy, but entertaining. **
Jack Gallagher is on his way to the ring for commentary! He looks totally dapper.
Match #2 – Ariya Daivairi vs. Lince Dorado
Dorado almost completely eats it jumping off the top rope during his entrance. What have I been telling you about people in capes? Daivairi backs Dorado into the corner and hammers Lince. Lince returns with a springboard crossbody.
Ariya puts Dorado in the corner again and continues to punch and kick. He starts yelling at Gallagher. Dorado takes advantage and hits a chop and a Springboard Stunner for two. Crowd loved seeing that! It’s hard to call this match because they keep cutting back to Austin Aries and Jack Gallagher.
Dorado missed a crossbody off the top, and Daivairi hits a wicked lariat. He puts Lince in a Cobra Clutch Crossface for the submission! That’s an AWESOME finish. *1/2, too short.
Gallagher is right ANGRY, pointing his umbrella in Daivairi’s general direction! Tomorrow night, they face off in an “I Forfeit!” Match on 205 Live. This just keeps getting sillier. I love it.
Recap of The Undertaker declaring himself eligible for the Royal Rumble. This is followed by a recap of the UK Championship Tournament. Fantastic viewing this past weekend, if I may say so. Tyler Bate defeated Pete Dunne in an incredible final. After this, we recap a video that was on the WWE Facebook page. It’s Sasha Banks testing her left knee during a training session. As she’s running the ropes, NIA JAX shows up and straight up splatters her with the standing Vader splash. Jax looked like a Kodiak Bear right there. She’s scary as hell.
Match #3: WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Sheamus & Cesaro (c) vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Cesaro and Anderson to start. They trade offense and Sheamus gets a blind tag as Cesaro hits a backbreaker. Cesaro and Sheamus hit some double team offense, including a double stomp that Cesaro almost missed. Anderson takes advantage and tags in Gallows. They hit a pretty pedestrian running Demolition Decapitation for two. Gallows pounds Cesaro in the corner, and pounds some more.
Tag into Anderson, who hits a snapmare and knees in the face for two. Anderson has an armbar on the injured arm of Cesaro, and tags Gallows back in. Gallows tries a back suplex, and Sheamus gets another blind tag and a shoulder tackle. Sheamus climbs the top rope and hits a lariat for two. Gallows gets caught in the ropes and Sheamus hits the forearms from the outside. Anderson hits a drop kick to Sheamus’ knee, and Gallows hits a SWANK mafia kick. This sends Sheamus to the outside as we go to break.
When we return, Gallows splashes Sheamus in the corner, and Anderson tags in to hit a nasty suplex for the two! Anderson tells Gallows to “Finish it”. Sheamus comes in and he’s ALSO A HOUSE OF FIRE! He hits European uppercuts and a hard drop kick for two. Giant Swing on Anderson, but Gallows breaks it up. Cesaro holds him at bay and nails Anderson with a 619 instead! Cesaro takes out Gallows outside, and uppercuts Anderson from the outside! He comes inside and hits another uppercut for one, two, NO!
Cesaro tries the Giant Swing again, and sends him for a half-dozen rotations before trying the Sharpshooter. Gallows comes in and attacks Cesaro, breaking it up. Anderson tries a two-count but he cannot put away Cesaro. Anderson starts slapping him around, and Cesaro fights back. As this happens, Sheamus comes in and clears everyone out, including the ref! Another ref comes in as Anderson & Gallows hit the Magic Killer. ONE, TWO, THREE! We have NEW champions! But wait…the original ref comes to…and DQ’s Sheamus? Who exactly does this help? Anderson & Gallows win the match, but not the championships. **
Recap video of opening segment. This is followed by a tribute video to Jimmy Snuka. My condolences go out to his family, but my heart goes out to the family of Nancy Argentino. So many unanswered questions.
Sami Zayn is backstage with Roman and Seth Rollins. A 6-man tag match is set up for tonight. Zayn acts like a total geek here.
Match #4 – WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann vs. Tony Nese
Neville vs. Swann is announced for the Royal Rumble. As they play a recap video, Neville comes into the ring from the crowd and kicks Swann’s head in! Swann fights back and they brawl while the refs try to split them up. Nese blindsides Swann and Neville pulls him off. Nese runs back to attack Swann, but Neville throws him out of the ring. Neville comes back with another kick to the head, and apparently we’re not going to have a match. BUT WE TAPED THE ROPES PURPLE!
Backstage, Neville calls Americans “hypocrites” and says at the Royal Rumble…Swann will be broken by the King of the Cruiserweights.
New Day is out pouring Booty-O’s on errrrrybody! They talk about the STACKED line-up for the Royal Rumble match. Xavier kills it doing impressions of everybody. My two favorite are Braun Strowman (“I don’t know, what does he do?”) and The Undertaker (awesome eye-roll).
They inherit the Three Musketeers rule, where if one of them win the Rumble…all three of them will win the Rumble. Titus interrupts and challenges any member of New Day for their Royal Rumble spot. He tells them to get in a huddle and figure it out. Kofi rips on Titus’ inability to know what a huddle actually looks like, otherwise he’d still be playing football (burn!)
Match #5 – Royal Rumble Qualifier
Big E vs. Titus O’Neil
Titus pounds on Big E in the corner, but Big E reverses and hits a big elbow for 2. Titus tries to shoulder tackle E, but E moves out of the way and they go outside. Titus shoves Xavier outside, and hits a Boot on Big E afterwards. He gets a few nearfalls, followed by a few elbows for another two. Titus hits a nasty Dominator for one, two, NO!
Titus puts Big E in the most pitiful crosslock I’ve ever seen, and finally settles in with a sleeperhold. E fights out, but Titus hits a powerslam and a legdrop for two. Titus slaps Big E around and then attempts…I don’t even know how to call this. Titus puts Big E in an abdominal stretch. Out of nowhere, Titus runs his hand down his tongue. Then Titus starts slapping Big E’s stomach. For some reason, he goes south and start to slap Big E’s ass. This is all very bizarre.
Big E fights out, hits a couple of clotheslines and a belly-to-belly. Big Splash on Titus, followed by the Big Ending for the win! Big E keeps his spot for the Royal Rumble. *1/2 I don’t even know what to say to that. What was Titus thinking during that abdominal stretch segment?
Charlotte comes out for an interview. She plugs her match with Bayley for the Women’s Title at the Royal Rumble. Charlotte says that when you look up the word “Average” in the dictionary, you see a picture of Bayley. Very original. Charlotte’s starting to get the “What” treatment!
Charlotte starts to show pictures of Bayley with WWE wrestlers. Then Charlotte starts to get a little creepy, pulling some of Bayley’s personal poems and writings out for people to see. Then Charlotte starts insulting the crowd. This is starting to fall off the tracks. Then they pull out some footage of Bayley crying as she read one of her writings about wanting to be a pro wrestler.
Charlotte calls her work childish. As she continues on, Bayley shows up and runs her off. Bayley says that none of this is necessary. Charlotte says that she’s nothing more than an “average fan”. Bayley says she has no shame for who she is. She tells a story about her Dad taking her to shows even when they had no money. The fans start to get behind Bayley, but then she starts spitting out ridiculous rhymes (“I’ll be smiling cheek-to-cheek when I break your PPV streak!”) and the fans turn on her. That was not supposed to happen.
I’m not going to lie…when she started doing this, I immediately thought of the Grim Reaper in “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” when he says, “You might be a King or a little street sweeper, sooner or later you’re going to dance with the reaper!” It was that level of corniness.
Yet ANOTHER recap of the opening segment.
Kevin Owens and Jericho are talking to Strowman backstage. They give Strowman a couple of ideas for tonight’s match. This includes pulverizing Reigns and Rollins. Strowman tells them that he’s going to make his opponents scream for their lives. Well, alright then.
Match #6 – Cedric Alexander vs. The Brian Kendrick
MORE PURPLE TAPE! They recap Cedric dumping Alicia Fox and her subsequent meltdown. Kendrick hits a drop toe hold into the corner. Cedric gets a headscissors, dropkick, and a springboard slingshot moonsault. Cedric runs inside, but Kendrick catches him with a dropkick. He follows up with a superkick, but it only gets two. Kendrick tries to get Cedric in a Full Nelson, but Cedric fights out. Cedric hits some chops and runs for the ropes, only to get caught by a Kendrick back elbow.
Kendrick runs into the corner, but Alexander catches him with a wicked kick and a shoulder tackle in the corner. He hits a sweet kick and the top rope front bulldog for two! Kendrick counters a back suplex into the Captain’s Hook! Alicia Fox shows up and pulls the rope towards Cedric. He grabs it and goes outside to see why she’s here. Kendrick kicks Alexander right in the back of the head.
Kendrick tries the Captain’s Hook, but it’s countered into the SWEET Lumbar Check for the one, two, three! **1/4 Cedric throws Alicia Fox some shade afterwards, for good measure.
Nia Jax backstage. She says that Sasha is not “The Boss” anymore, and for once…people are talking about Nia Jax. Someone’s been craving attention.
The first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2017 is…KURT ANGLE (!!!) I take it his in-ring career is over, then? Maybe it’s for the best.
Main Event 6-Man Tag Team Match – WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens, WWE US Champion Chris Jericho, and Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Sami Zayn
They talk trash to start, and Zayn runs for Strowman right away. Pier 6 brawl to start. Reigns and Strowman are the last two men in the ring. Strowman throws Reigns out of the ring with ease as we go to commercial.
When we return, Jericho gets the tag from Braun as all three men beat Reigns down in the corner. Jericho catches a snapmare and a kick to Reigns’ back. Y2J slaps Roman in the face, and Reigns returns serve with a huge right hand. Zayn tags in and throws Jericho into the turnbuckle. He hits a backbreaker and a standing moonsault, but it only gets two.
Owens tags in and it’s CHAPTER CCXVXVXVXIII of Zayn vs. Owens. Owens kicks Zayn in the back, and works on the back before putting him in a sleeperhold. Zayn fights out, but Owens hits an enziguiri for two. Jericho tags in and hits a huge suplex on Sami for another two-count. Jericho throws Zayn in the corner and clotheslines him. Jericho goes to the top, but Sami catches him on the way down with a fist to the gut.
Owens tags in and catches Sami before he can tag out. Owens goes for a splash but Zayn gets the knees up. Hot tag to Roman Reigns, who is a HOUSE OF FIRE! Clotheslines in the corner for Reigns, followed by a big boot to KO. Reigns locks and loads for the Superman Punch, but Y2J interrupts. That’s interrupted by Seth, who gets dropped by Braun. Braun gets on the apron and decks Roman, allowing KO to catch a superkick.
After the second break, Reigns is being destroyed by the opposing team. KO screams “WATCH THIS!” and then puts Reigns in a SLEEPERHOLD OF AMAZING DISCOMFORT. Devastating move. Reigns fights out, and catches KO with a Samoan Drop. Hot tag to Seth Rollins, and we have our FOURTH HOUSE OF FIRE! Blockbuster to Jericho! Stereo stage dives by Zayn and Rollins!
Rollins hits a flying knee on Jericho for one, two, NO! This sequence is really heating up. Rollins tries to hit a Pedigree on Jericho, but Braun Strowman gets tagged in. Rollins tries to knock Strowman down, but Braun catches him. Zayn interferes and gets dropped, and Rollins’ Pedigree attempt is failed. Rollins hits two running knees on Strowman and a crossbody to the outside on KO & Y2J!
Zayn tries a splash on Strowman for one, two, NO!! The crowd is totally psyched. Zayn tries the Heluva Kick, but gets massacred by Strowman. Running Powerslam gets the one, two three! Braun’s awesome run continues. ***
Braun goes to destroy Sami after the match on the Raw broadcast booth, but Rollins clips Strowman with a chair! Reigns hits an AMAZING Spear on the staging area! The former Shield brothers go to dismantle the table, but Y2J & KO stop them. Rollins hits a Pedigree on Y2J, but KO clocks him with a chair. Then Roman gets nailed with the same chair, just because. Show closes with KO hitting a HUGE Power Bomb through the broadcast booth.
Goldberg next week in Cleveland! BE THERE!