The final Raw of 2016 kicks of with Commissioner Stephanie McMahon. The Chicago crowd gets on her heavy with CM Punk chants so she shoots back with a clever quip about his debut UFC fight. Nice. Before she could say anything else Seth Rollins comes out looking to take more shots at Stephanie’s husband Triple H. Although Seth still has a beef to settle with Triple H he has a bone to pick with Braun Strowman for attacking him. Roman Reigns comes out with the same idea in mind, getting revenge on Strowman for attacking him as well. Both men go back and forth as to who gets first dibs but ultimately compromise on doing things the old Shield way. Stephanie trolls the crowd again with a tease of a full on Shield reunion. Instead tonight Rollins gets first dibs on Strowman and Roman will defend the US Championship against an opponent of her choosing.
Sheamus and Cesaro (c) vs. The New Day for the Raw Tag Team Championship
Something different from The New Day, Woods and Kingston teaming together opting to go with full on quickness instead of adding the power with Big E. Beginning of the match saw New Day the upper hand with quick offense which I enjoyed. Sheamus and Cesaro started working together with some team offense which was nice to see. Woods hit an awesome tornado DDT from the apron to the outside. I love that three quarter elbow drop of the middle of the top rope. Big E distracted the official during the Cesaro Swing. Kofi went for Trouble in Paradise but had to fight out of almost getting swung himself. Kofi gets awkwardly caught by Cesaro and tossed onto Big E. on the outside. Woods hits Cesaro with a Roaring Elbow and Sheamus blind tags in and hits Woods with a Brogue Kick as he was going for the Honor Roll. Woods did not see the blind tag and ends up getting the pin. Cesaro and Sheamus retain the Raw Tag Team Titles.
Looks like Goldberg will be in the house next week to talk about entering the 2017 Royal Rumble.
Braun Strowman ran into Chris Jericho and WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens who look to poke the bear Braun to get him fired up for his match against Rollins tonight. I think it worked.
Backstage Bayley gave Goldust a Christmas gift, a collectable mini Dusty Rhodes teddy bear. It was a really touching moment. Gallows and Anderson interrupt the touching moment by calling Goldust and R-Truth nerds. Anderson takes the bear from Goldust and rips its head off. Rude.
Nia Jax vs. Scarlett Bordeaux
Squash match. Good to see Scarlett though! Nice lady.
Back from break with Charlotte wrapping up a secret meeting with Stephanie. Details of this meeting were not disclosed. After Charlotte exits in comes Jericho and Owens with a complaint against Mick Foley for putting Owens in a match against Reigns at the Royal Rumble. Jericho, who is afraid of heights, will be suspended in a shark cage hanging above the ring. Stephanie offers up the spot against Reigns in tonight’s main event, to Kevin Owens. I don’t think that is what Jericho wanted.
Bayley was in the ring saying she should be the number one contender for the Women’s Championship based on the fact that she has beaten the Champion Charlotte three times. Charlotte comes out to inform Bayley and the WWE Universe that Bayley’s win has been stricken from the record books because Charlotte’s shoulders weren’t on the mat when the official counted three. Charlotte also says that in a dispute settlement over this matter they have granted Bayley a match. Should Bayley wins the match she will be declared the number one contender for the Raw Women’s Title. Also in the settlement it states that an official who will call the match down the middle will be chosen. That official is Charlotte’s protege Dana Brooke. Talk about unfair.
Charlotte vs. Bayley – If Bayley wins she is #1 Contender for the Raw Women’s Championship
Early on Dana Brooke only enforced the rules against Bayley and not Charlotte. Bayley hit Dana with the Bayley to Belly. So much for that. An actual official comes out to oversee the match. The match was pretty basic but the crowd was definitely into it. Bayley hits the Bayley to Belly and before the official can get the three count he is pulled out of the ring by Dana Brooke. Charlotte rolls up Bayley for a quick three count while Charlotte’s feet were on the ropes.
Backstage Stephanie confronts Braun Strowman who has been terrorizing people backstage while on the hunt for Sami Zayn.Stephanie offers up Sami for Braun next week on Raw. Braun likes that but ask that the match be a Last Man Standing match which Stephanie allows. She asks for something in return. She wants Braun to do to Rollins tonight what he plans to do to Zayn next week. Things are definitely not looking good for Rollins. Or Sami Zayn.
Neville vs. TJ Perkins
I really enjoy the darker, rough around the edges Neville. I equally enjoy the commitment to the character by working a more ground and pound, stiff strike offense and only breaking out the fast, high flying stuff when it is necessary. Even better? Neville picked up the win on a roll up holding the tights. Tomorrow on 205 Live Neville will take on Rich Swann for the Cruiserweight Championship.
Big Cass and Enzo came out with Enzo riding around in a leopard print wheelchair thanks to the beat down he suffered from Rusev and Jinder Mahal. I have no idea what Enzo was talking about but it sounded cool. Big Cass called out Rusev who answered but had Jinder come out as back up. Their plan was to jump Big Cass since he would basically be on his own. The plan backfired as Enzo sacrificed his body to even the odds.
The Shining Stars vs. Bo Dallas and Darren Young
This match ended before it really began on account of BRAUN STROWMAN KILLING EVERYONE.
Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman
This was a carbon copy Giant vs. small man match with Rollins using his speed to try and combat the massive power of Braun Strowman. Rollins tried valiantly and strategically to take the Big Man down but it almost looked like Braun was too much. Just when it looked like Strowman was going to win this one Sami Zayn surprises Braun with a quick attack. Zayn takes off through the crowd with Braun chasing after him. Chris Jericho enters out of nowhere and hits Rollins with two Codebreakers. Apparently the plan was to take Rollins out of commission for the rest of the night leaving Reigns without any backup. Sidenote: The Strowman/Zayn storyline is quickly becoming WWE’s most compelling stories. Very simple formula.
Gallows and Anderson vs. The Golden Truth
This actually turned out to be a very enjoyable match. As Graves said on commentary Goldust defies the laws of aging. Goldust can definitely still go. The story in this one is Goldust being more aggressive as he was disrespect earlier by Anderson. Match worked well with Anderson getting the roll up win out of nowhere. I would not mind seeing a program around these two teams.
Rich Swann vs. Ariya Daivari
Very quick match with Swann getting the win with the Spinning Back Kick. He accepts Neville’s challenge then out of nowhere Neville attacks Swann from behind. Neville caps off the attack with a Red Arrow to Swann’s back. Should be a good match tomorrow.
Backstage Jack Gallagher challenged Daivari to a duel. Gallagher even slapped in the face with a leather glove.
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens for the United States Championship
This was pretty basic stuff from these two. If I were to rank their feud match by match I’d put this one on the bottom, nothing wowed me but the good news was the crowd was into it. Jericho ran down to the ring but did not really interfere all that much. If he did, I sure missed it. Rollins too came down to the ring to give Jericho a Pedigree as a receipt for earlier. Owens is distracted by all the action outside that he turns around right into a Spear from Reigns. 1..2..3. Reigns retains the US Title. After the match Rollins lays out Owens with a Pedigree.
Overall I enjoyed this edition of Raw. It’s fun to see a Raw where not all the eggs of the show are thrown into the main event, although the main event didn’t deliver like I hoped it would. Looks like Raw is starting to find its groove to stay on track with SmackDown Live.
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