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Monday Night Raw TV report for 01/23/2017

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Hey everyone! It’s @TheMagnumDA here with your latest installment of the Raw Report, LIVE from Cleveland. This is the go-home show for the Royal Rumble, which takes place in six days at the Alamodome. I’ll be there for the Rumble, will you? Shoutout to my buddy Don, who will be joining me on this crazy journey.

We open with ROMAN REIGNS, who comes out for the night’s opening promo. The shark cage is in the ring with him. Reigns said there’d be over “40,000 people” in the Alamodome this Sunday, but only one person would be locked in the cage (Jericho). Eeps!!! 40k?! That building can hold up to 70k. They did 60k+ in 1997! Reigns tells the audience that Kevin Owens will have to face him one-on-one, which means that he will once again be the Universal Champion. The crowd shows how much they care by booing the ever-loving crap out of this guy.

Owens and Jericho show up, and Owens calls Roman delusional. Owens asks Reigns if he’s alright, considering what happened last week (Owens powerbombing Reigns through a table). Owens says the difference between he and Roman is that Owens did the powerbomb by himself. He didn’t need help along the way (referring to The Shield).

Jericho steps in and makes a prediction of his own…Roman is a stupid idiot. BOLD. Jericho mentions the shark cage and his US Championship victory, which leads Roman to request a rematch for the title. It’s on! Roman leaves us with one more prediction…at the Royal Rumble, he’ll be champion because Owens is not “The Guy”. I’m sure he’s shaking in his boots with that prediction, Roman. We got a regular Nostradamus here.

Match #1: Luke Gallows vs. Cesaro

Apparently the tag champs are on the same page? Or not. I can’t tell. They lock up and Gallows elbows Cesaro. He pounds him in the corner and Cesaro counters with a corkscrew uppercut for two. Cesaro gets a waistlock on the ground and lifts Gallows! Gallows turns the tide and hits a back body drop. Cole references the New Japan tag titles as Cesaro catches an uppercut in the corner. Anderson causes a distraction and Gallows hits a boot for two.

After the break, Gallows has Cesaro in a sleeperhold. During the break, it’s revealed that Anderson was chased out of the arena by Sheamus. Gallows tries a suplex, but Cesaro reverses and powers Gallows over. Gallows avoids the Giant Swing, and heads outside. Sheamus is out there waiting for Gallows, and the distraction allows Cesaro to hit a big boot. Sheamus finally decks Gallows when the ref isn’t looking. Cesaro tries a sunset flip, and turns this into the Sharpshooter. Anderson returns back out and Cesaro gets distracted! Gallows catches Cesaro with a big boot for the victory!

Winner: Luke Gallows (*1/2)

Foley is backstage on the phone with Stephanie (how many weeks has she been gone now?). Stephanie asks why Foley booked a rematch for the US Championship tonight, and it’s because Foley thought it was a good idea. As this thrilling conversation continues, Sami Zayn walks in and asks when he can declare himself eligible for the Royal Rumble.

Steph chimes in and tells Zayn that he has to beat Seth Rollins to qualify for the Rumble. After this announcement, Foley takes Stephanie off speakerphone and Stephanie gives orders for Foley to do something he’s not comfortable with. Whatever could this be?

Next is a sit-down interview with Bayley discussing her upcoming match with Charlotte. I hope Colin doesn’t mind, but there was literally little to nothing in this interview, in terms of substance. Bayley mentions that she’s a lifelong fan, and that she has two wins over Charlotte.

Match #2: Seth Rollins vs. Sami Zayn (Royal Rumble Qualifier)

Just before the match starts, Foley tells Rollins that HIS Rumble spot is on the line, as well. So this isn’t just Zayn fighting for any spot…it’s Rollins’ spot! DOG SPOT LIVER SPOT MY SPOT! Rollins gets a side headlock on Zayn, and shoulder tackles Zayn when thrown into the ropes. They lock up again, and Zayn gets the armbar. Rollins shows Owen Hart-like agility, getting himself out of the predicament.

Rollins catches Sami with a forearm, and starts landing rights. Zayn returns with rights of his own and a HUGE lariat. Rollins hits a lariat of his own, followed by a suicide dive to the outside! After the break, Rollins is in control with a wristlock. Rollins throws Zayn in the corner and catches him with a Ghetto Blaster. Out of nowhere, Zayn hits the Blue Thunder Bomb for ONE, TWO, NO! That was super close!

The crowd trade “Let’s Go Rollins/Let’s Go Zayn” chants. Zayn and Rollins trade near-falls and Sami hits the Michinoku Driver for ONE, TWO, NO! Awesome stuff. They’ve been going over 10 minutes, which is a pleasant surprise on Raw. A great sequence leads to a huge Blockbuster by Rollins for ONE, TWO, NO! Another great sequence leads to a superkick by Rollins for two! Rollins hits the Falcon Arrow for ONE, TWO, NO! Sami Zayn has alligator’s blood…can’t get rid of him!

Rollins and Zayn trade forearms, and Seth catches a WICKED kick on Sami Zayn. Rollins tries the Pedigree, but this is countered by Sami. Sami tries the Heluva Kick, but he misses! Rollins tries ANOTHER Pedigree attempt, but Zayn hits the back body drop, sending Rollins to the outside. Sami climbs upstairs, but Rollins catches him with a kick. Rollins follows him to the top rope and TRIES A TOP ROPE PEDIGREE! Sami fights out and reverses into a SUNSET FLIP POWER BOMB for ONE, TWO, NO! This match is freaking incredible! Rollins counters into an enziguiri, but Sami counters THAT with an Exploder Suplex into the corner. From the apron, Rollins hits the Pedigree! Sickening!

Just as Rollins throws Zayn back into the ring, we hear MOTORHEAD! HHH is here…? Rollins starts looking everywhere but can’t find Hunter. Rollins walks right into a small package for the ONE, TWO, THREE! A major upset! I didn’t care for the false finish, but this was still wonderful.

Winner: Sami Zayn (***1/2)

After the match, Rollins is seething backstage. He feels robbed of his chance to headline WrestleMania. He asks Foley if he knew anything about HHH’s mock entrance, and Foley denied any involvement. Rollins said that whoever did this…took one year away from his life, as well as his dream to headline WrestleMania. Foley suggests that Rollins should check with Stephanie and a member of the WWE production team to find out more. Way to pass that buck, Micker.

Match #3: Mustafa Ali, Jack Gallagher and T.J. Perkins vs. Drew Gulak, Ariya Daivairi and Tony Nese

They recap last week’s 205 Live and the “I Forfeit” match, won by Gallagher. Daivairi tags in Gulak, but Gallagher is ready and waiting with a headlock. Gulak kicks Jack in the corner, and throws him into the ropes. Gallagher does the handstand, and takes advantage with a headlock. Blind tag to TJ Perkins, who puts Gulak in the Octopus Stretch. Gulak counters and tags in Tony Nese.

TJ ends up taking out the opposing team, but Nese catches TJ in the corner and botches a gutbuster in the corner. He tries again and hits for two. Seated Body Scissors by Nese, but Perkins fights out of it. Gulak and Ali tag in. Why is Ali dressing like Mortis without the shoulderpads? Ali catches Gulak with a sweet kick in the corner. This quickly turns into a Pier 6 brawl, and Ali hits the Inverted 450 for the win! Match was less than 4 minutes, but not bad.

Winners: Mustafa Ali, Jack Gallagher and T.J. Perkins (*3/4)

THE NEW DAY are here, and before they can say anything of note…here comes Enzo and Big Cass! Enzo makes a ridiculous “Over The Top” reference (that was ARM WRESTLING, you half-wit!) as Rusev & Mahal interrupt the proceedings. Rusev asks why Cass and E. have “Big” in their names, and then mentions something about being handsome. “You don’t hear me calling myself ‘Handsome Rusev’, do you?” Rusev is GOLD. This guy could ramble about anything, and he’d be gold on the mic. Titus O’Neil shows up and says he’s not here to annoy The New Day…he just wanted to let them know that he’s joining Rusev & Mahal in the upcoming eight-man tag match. New Day asks WHOOOO is their fourth man? Oh crap. It’s Braun Strowman.

Match #4: Braun Strowman, Titus O’Neal, Rusev and Jinder Mahal vs. Enzo Amore, Big Cass, Kofi Kingston and Big E.

Joined in progress after the commercial. Kofi hits a cross body on Rusev, but it only gets two. Kofi’s Rumble history is discussed, as Rusev throws Kofi into his team’s corner. Mahal tags in as the announcers put Mahal over huge. Almost as huge as Mahal himself. Titus tags in and hits Kofi with some power moves. He puts Kofi in a bearhug, keeping Kofi from tagging in. “I’M THE LEBRON JAMES UP IN THIS THING,” Titus exclaims. This guy is the anti-Rusev.

Kofi FINALLY makes a hot tag to Cass, who is a HOUSE OF FIRE. Cass hits a splash and a huge boot on Mahal. Enzo is tagged in, and the Rocket Launcher is hit! Titus breaks it up, but he gets suplexed by Big E. Cass hits Rusev with a big boot, and Kofi hits a suicide dive to the brawl outside! Enzo hits Mahal with an enziguiri inside, but Mahal tags in Strowman. Enzo is brave, but gets destroyed immediately with a shoulder tackle. Enzo fights out of the Powerslam, but a DDT attempt is countered into the Powerslam for the pin.

Winners: Braun Strowman, Titus O’Neal, Rusev and Jinder Mahal (*1/2)

After the match, it’s the BIG SHOW! He’s baaaack! He looks TOTALLY JACKED UP, but I mean that in the best way possible. This has to be the best shape he’s ever been in. Show and Strowman have a staredown, and Strowman declares that he does what he wants. What is this, Maury Povich?

Match #5: US Championship Match
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Roman Reigns

Reigns catches Jericho with a big right hand, sending him outside. Jericho gets thrown into the barricade and the ring apron by Reigns. Drive-By hits as we go to commercial. When we return from the break, Kevin Owens is on commentary. Jericho wrenches Reigns in a Sleeperhold, and the commentators talk over each other. Reigns gets caught with a drop kick as KO says, “Hi, Chris! YOU DON’T HAVE THAT KIND OF CHEMISTRY WITH ANYONE, BYRON.” Hilarious!

Jericho slaps Reigns in the face, and Reigns returns with some more right hands. Reigns with…you guessed it, MORE RIGHT HANDS. This is followed by Reigns hitting a few clotheslines. They botch a roll-up as KO denies that he’s sweating Roman. Reigns tries a Superman Punch, and Jericho hits him with a drop kick. Reigns hits a huge Power Bomb, for ONE, TWO, NO! Reigns hits the Superman Punch, but Kevin Owens comes in for the DQ.

Winner: Roman Reigns by DQ (Jericho retains title) *3/4

After the match, Owens gets locked into the cage. Jericho tries to hold on to the cage while it lifts from the ring! Reigns brings him back down to Earth with a Superman Punch and a Spear. After the break, Charly announces that the Reigns/Owens title match will now be No DQ! Owens is livid, and feels the match should be cancelled.

The next segment is Charlotte’s sit-down with Corey Graves. She has much more substance in her promo than Charlotte, harkening back to the 1992 Rumble when Flair won it all. Charlotte thinks Bayley isn’t even in the same league as her, and that her legacy will live on beyond the Rumble.

Match #6: Nia Jax vs. Rae Lynn

Not even a match. Rae gets ragdolled in the corner, and Nia Jax hits the Bonzai Drop for three. Really? Because she’s heavy-set, you have to go with the Bonzai Drop? Someone’s going to get hurt.

Winner: Nia Jax (No Stars)

Afterwards, Nia dedicates her match to the dead career of Sasha Banks. Well, that’s gracious of her. Sasha (once again in Tiny Tim mode) comes out and busts a crutch over Nia’s leg. Also, I think she’s wearing the crutch wrong. Just saying. Nia, like a true rookie, no-sells the whole thing. Jax & Banks will square off in the Rumble preshow.

Match #7: WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann vs. Noam Dar (non-title)

MORE PURPLE TAPE, PLEASE! Swann vs. Neville is announced for the Rumble (for the title). Alicia Fox might be the worst actress ever. Aries declares that Noam likes “Hot Chocolate”…I’m not touching that one. Nice sequence to start, leading to a sweet dropkick by Swann. Swann runs and hits the suicide dive, but Alicia Fox gets in the way. That’s alright, because Swann goes outside and catches Dar with a superkick from the apron. As Swann is distracted by Fox, Dar hits a dropkick as we go to break. After the commercial, Swann fights out of a sleeperhold and hits a lariat on Dar. Double Stomp by Swann to the back of Dar’s head. Awesome headscissors from the top by Swann, followed by the SWANK KICK for the victory. Too short.

Winner: Rich Swann (*1/2)

After the match, Swann challenges Neville. Swann says that Neville might think he’s the King of the Cruiserweights, but to him…he’s the jester. You can literally hear the crickets after that left his mouth. This guy needs some better material, STAT. They tease going at it, and then Swann hits a tope. Just because. Swann’s a great performer, but he’s unwieldy on the mic.

Backstage, Cedric Alexander continues his love triangle with Noam Dar and Alicia Fox. Meanwhile, I fix myself a drink because nothing of substance is happening. Tomorrow night on 205 Live, it’s Cedric vs. Neville.

MAIN EVENT INTERVIEW SEGMENT

Goldberg comes out to a very good reaction. This is encouraging, because he got nothing two weeks ago. Goldberg gets hardway juice on the LOCKER during his entrance. I haven’t seen anything like that since the Flair promo from 2005 where he opened up his own wounds to provoke HHH. Goldberg comes out and it takes him THREE tries to make the following announcement: “he wants a shot at the Universal title, and that he’ll go through all 29 guys to get there.” Was that really so tough to remember? Poor Mr. Bill.

This brings out Paul Heyman, who says that Goldberg could face any number of top WWE stars during this match, including Orton, Strowman, Undertaker, and…this man. BROCK LESNAR comes out and the crowd pops huge for it. Heyman says that Goldberg will be beaten and victimized. Goldberg asks Lesnar, “Are you going to come to the ring, or just sit there like a dumbass?”

Lesnar is enraged, and starts to walk towards the ring. As the two have an epic staredown, THE BELL TOLLS FOR THEE! It’s THE UNDERTAKER!!! The crowd goes ABSOLUTELY batshit crazy upon his arrival. The BLUE LIGHTS OF GRIM UNCERTAINTY shine on Lesnar and Goldberg as the show ends. What a final segment!

That’s it for the Raw Report, I’ll be there Sunday! WATCH IT. Then come back to the site and read Colin’s Royal Rumble Report.

@TheMagnumDA is the PPV Pick’em reporter for Wrestling-Online and formerly wrote the Raw reports. He currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He enjoys traveling, reading, and playing PSN (ROCKofJERICHO).

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