December 29, 2015
The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., hosted the last Raw of 2015 on Monday night, and it was highlighted by the return of John Cena to in-ring competition as he took on the United States Champion, Alberto Del Rio. We also saw the return of the CEO of WWE, Vince McMahon, two weeks after getting hit with Roman Reigns’ Superman punch in Philly. And we got to see the dark side of Kevin Owens, which is always a good thing.
Despite filling out half the roster for Raw, as there was a live event in Allentown, PA going on at the same time, the show was enjoyable for the most part. In between the holidays, it’s a bit much to expect a great show, but this show was exactly what WWE needed – something to hook the audience to tune into next week’s show.
Here are some of the main stories coming out of Raw:
Vince McMahon started off the program by calling out Roman Reigns, the same guy who hit him with a Superman punch that required dental surgery for the boss. McMahon said that Triple H would exact his revenge on Reigns for the beatdown Reigns put on him at TLC, and Reigns wouldn’t see it coming. I guess that defeats the purpose of Triple H’s revenge being something that Reigns doesn’t see coming.
McMahon then said he owns Reigns as well as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, prompting Reigns to call him a jerk and a rich snob, to which McMahon took offense.
In a lighter moment during this opening promo, the fans started chanting, “Daniel Bryan!” and “C.M. Punk!” to which certainly flustered McMahon enough to have him yell at the crowd to shut up.
McMahon evoked the familial tradition of Reigns, naming Afa and Sika, the Wild Samoans of 1980s WWF fame, of which Sika is Reigns’ father and Afa his uncle. After telling Reigns he paid Sika his “dead peanuts,” Reigns hit McMahon, though not forcefully, and he fell and started complaining about his neck. This was Vince McMahon at his best.
Stephanie came out with officers and security and both her and her father were trying to force them to arrest Reigns for striking him, but they declined. McMahon eventually got so fed up with them, he put his hands on one of the officers and wound up being arrested himself and was shoved into a police car backstage and send to jail.
Renee Young would follow the police to jail, and would provide updates throughout the night. Cameras were there when McMahon was bailed out of jail by his daughter.
Who else thought he was gonna go to a diner to grab some steak and eggs?
Later in the night, after the main event was over and Reigns had rid the ring of the League of Nations, the CEO returned and announced that Reigns would defend his championship against Sheamus next Monday night with himself as the special guest referee. What a way to start 2016.
Speaking of the main event, John Cena returned to the ring Monday night to take on Alberto Del Rio in what was originally going to be a non-title match. Cena and Del Rio traded barbs on the mic before the match, and Del Rio agreed to put the United States Championship on the line.
After a pretty good match, Cena hit Del Rio with the Attitude Adjustment and I thought we were going to see a new United States Champion, but Sheamus and Rusev interrupted the pin for the disqualification.
The New Day provided another great promo for us on Monday night. Upset over the fact that they didn’t win a Slammy Award for the “OMG!” Moment of the Year, Kofi Kingston said that any parents that need someone to discipline their kids to just call The New Day so they could fight their children. Don’t worry, it was all a joke! And it got Big E really rolling on the floor laughing.
Kalisto would take on Kofi Kingston and eventually defeat him. After that match, Xavier Woods had some harsh words for the Lucha Dragons, so he challenged Sin Cara to a match with… Big E, of course.
During the match, Sin Cara took a vicious bump to the outside and wound up dislocating his shoulder as we would later find out.
That didn’t matter to him, though, as he finished the match, although it was in a losing effort. Even though Big E won, we still have been seeing The New Day lose too much lately. Then again, they’re the WWE World Tag Team Champions, and that shouldn’t surprise anyone.
When Neville defeated Kevin Owens in literally 20 seconds, I wasn’t very happy. But, as the show would play out, this was solid storytelling for the character of Owens. He attacked Neville after the match and looked like a monster in the process. He would leave after the initial attack, only to return to inflict more damage on Neville.
After a commercial break, WWE officials were tending to Neville and helping him walk backstage when Owens returned for a second time with one of the most picture-perfect clotheslines I’ve ever seen. After pretty much annihilating Neville, Dean Ambrose was a too little too late and came out and brawled with Owens for a few minutes before Owens escaped through the crowd.
Later on, after the six-man tag match featuring Ambrose and The Usos going against the League of Nations, Owens attacked the Intercontinental Champion and threw him into the steel steps, the guardrail, and finished him off with a powerbomb through the announce table.
Miz TV’s year in review spectacular didn’t go exactly as he probably had planned. Ryback, Goldust, Zack Ryder, Heath Slater and R-Truth crashed his party. R-Truth, whose character is just pure comedy at this point, was calling on fans to vote for him as Superstar of the Year, apparently forgetting the Slammy Awards were last Monday night.
The Big Show arrived and took everyone out. R-Truth had the right idea… at first.
Show would pick him up and chokeslam him and then announce himself as being the first entrant into the 2016 Royal Rumble. Or just the first superstar to announce he’s entering. He said entrant #1, so I’m not sure if that means he’s #1 in the Rumble match or just the first superstar to declare he’ll be in it. I’m sure we’ll get some clarification soon on that.
Show and Ryback would then go on to have a match that didn’t amount to anything.
I’m not so certain the “Boring!” chants during the Sasha Banks-Becky Lynch match weren’t sarcastic given the fact that the show was in Brooklyn and I don’t think those fans are really that ridiculous enough to believe that match was boring. Would it have been better to fight for something? Would it have been better if both Banks and Lynch had characters that have been built the last few months that the fans could care about? Absolutely. And it’s a crying shame that they don’t. Lynch is involved with Charlotte in an angle, but Banks has nothing going on right now. She’s wasting away. This was a good match, but certainly not boring.
They sure as hell got a lot more television time than usual, but it could have been better utilized by including a stipulation of some sort, such as the No. 1 contender for the Divas Championship.
In a classy gesture, WWE paid tribute to Motörhead’s Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, who passed away Monday after a short bout with an aggressive form of cancer.
• Neville d. Kevin Owens by pinfall via a victory roll.
• Sasha Banks d. Becky Lynch by pinfall after reversing the Disarmer into a rollup.
• Kalisto d. Kofi Kingston by pinfall via a hurricanrana rollup.
• Big E d. Sin Cara by pinfall via the Big Ending. Sin Cara dislocated his shoulder during the match.
• Ryback d. Big Show by countout after Show left the ringside area.
• Sheamus, King Barrett and Rusev d. Dean Ambrose and The Usos after Sheamus hit Jey Uso with a Brogue Kick.
• WWE United States Championship: John Cena d. Alberto Del Rio (c) by disqualification after Sheamus and Rusev attacked Cena.