Live from New Orleans, Louisiana this is the Raw Deal for episode #1181. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
Raw begins with a video package about last week’s Raw. The video package is about four minutes long and it’s the third time seeing it since they showed it twice on Smackdown too.
The stage was full of most of the WWE roster. The guys in the new Social Outcasts stable have #SocialOutcasts shirts. I’m sure those will be hot sellers! Well, I hope so for their sake.
Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon walked down to the ring looking happy. Stephanie was singing along to the “No Chance in Hell” theme song. Then they showed The New Day dancing to the song on the stage. Just another reminder of New Day’s greatness. The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show.
Vince and Stephanie told us to take a look at the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion while pointing on the stage. Vince said that somebody’s going to make history. Stephanie said Roman Reigns defending the title in the Rumble is making history. She said it all starts with throwing Reigns over the top rope. Vince said they need to do more than that because they have to outlast every other competitor.
Vince pointed out Dolph Ziggler on the stage while noting that he’s been there for ten long years and this could be his time. Stephanie pointed out Kevin Owens talking about how he’s accomplished so much in so little while saying if he wins then it could be the best first year in history. It wouldn’t top Kurt Angle or Brock Lesnar, but I can see why she would say it. Vince said that it could be a New Day. That led to the three New Day guys dancing on the stage. Then Vince and Steph said “That’s not booty” although Vince said “ain’t” and Steph said “not” so it was awkward. Oh the McMahons, they are so corny.
The Wyatt Family logo showed up on the screen, the lights went out and Bray Wyatt was standing on the announce table with Rowan, Harper and Strowman by his side. Wyatt: “It’s just like I always said, man: Anyone but you, Roman. Anyone but you.” Vince said that’s right while saying that includes Brock Lesnar.
Roman Reigns’ music hit as the WWE Champion marched down to the ring. Reigns was in the ring with Vince and Stephanie. She wondered if he wanted to beat up Vince and the crowd cheered. Roman: “What happens if I win?” Stephanie laughed. Vince said they would give him an opportunity in a new match, which Stephanie said “One Versus All.” Vince said that match would be Reigns against perhaps everybody on the stage. He told Reigns it would be a long night. Stephanie said that it could be against anybody, even Dean Ambrose. Vince said no that because Dean’s in the first match.
Sheamus attacked Ambrose from behind with a forearm shot to the back. Vince said that Ambrose’s match is against Sheamus. The music of Sheamus played to end the segment and go to commercial.
Analysis: There’s your typical 15 minutes of talking to start the show. The nickname “Stone Cold” Roman Reigns continues to be appropriate since they are repeating a lot of things they did when Steve Austin was the main face that had to overcome the odds. The difference is that Reigns is defending the WWE Title in the match, which has never been done before. Other than the McMahons being awkward rich people with no rhythm, it was fine for an opening segment. I thought The New Day dancing to Vince’s song was the best part.
Sheamus vs. Dean Ambrose
This is not for Ambrose’s IC Title and there’s no sign of the League of Nations in support of Sheamus. What a stable huh? Sheamus dominated the action early on. Ambrose hit a back suplex to get out of a chinlock. Sheamus nailed Ambrose with a forearm smash. Ambrose blocked the forearm attack and did his version of it, but Sheamus dropped his neck against the top rope. Sheamus tossed Ambrose hard into the barricade at ringside. Sheamus picked up Ambrose and slammed him suplex style onto the announce table. I remember a ref calling a disqualification in a match with that finish last year – it was a bad ending to a match. Sheamus went for a kick, Ambrose ducked and Sheamus went to the floor. Ambrose hit a suicide dive to knock down Sheamus out of the ring. With both guys down, it’s time for a break.
Back from break, Sheamus gave Ambrose an Irish Curse Backbreaker and then a Cloverleaf submission ended when Ambrose got to the ropes. Neckbreaker by Ambrose gets two. Sheamus went shoulder first into the ring post. Ambrose nailed a Tornado DDT out of the corner for two. Ambrose nailed his flying elbow off the top for a two count. Ambrose nailed his bounce off the ropes clothesline. He went for a dive to the floor again, but Sheamus nailed a forearm shot to block it. Sheamus sent Ambrose into the barricade at ringside three times. Then Sheamus tossed Ambrose into the steel steps. Ambrose sent Sheamus into the ring post. The ref counted them both out after 14 minutes as Ambrose whipped Sheamus into the steel stairs.
Match Result: Double Countout
Analysis: *** A good match that was done in a way that was even for both guys. The finish is going to upset people, but I don’t mind it because at least they were fighting outside of the ring instead of just doing nothing. Like when a heel walks out on a match - that’s a bad ending. This one is fine. It was a physical match between two guys who fit that style well. There will probably be a rematch between them on Smackdown or Raw next week because that’s how WWE tends to book these things.
Post match, Sheamus was bleeding from his forehead. Ambrose sent Sheamus into the side of the announce table and into the steps again. Ambrose cleared off the announce table, but Kevin Owens showed up to attack Ambrose from behind with punches. He wanted a Powerbomb, but a bunch of refs ran down to ringside to break it up.
Analysis: Another cheap attack from Owens, who has had a very good rivalry with Ambrose in the last month or so. I look forward to a potential Royal Rumble match that should be Falls Count Anywhere or a Street Fight. Are we to assume that the League of Nations stable is dead already? There’s no sign of them and no mention of them despite Sheamus getting attacked. I just read that Rusev suffered a minor knee injury at a live event, so that’s part of the reason I guess.
The announcers plugged WWE Network with new subscribers getting a free month, so you can get the Royal Rumble free.
Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel with The New Day is coming up later. Also, there will be Roman Reigns in a One Versus All match.
There was a shot of Bourbon Street. I love that place. New Orleans was so much fun WM30 weekend in 2014. I highly recommend it.
Replays aired of Owens attacking Ambrose from before the break.
Ambrose walked out of the trainer’s room yelling that they want to check on him, but he told her to feel his pulse and said that means he’s alive. He left.
Analysis: I like that they have established Ambrose’s gimmick as the babyface that always keeps fighting no matter what. I still think he’s going to be better long term as a heel, but he’s still very good in a face role.
Vince and Stephanie McMahon were walking backstage as Paul Heyman was standing by with two iPhones in his hand. He praised them for the One Versus All concept. Heyman mentioned how they said Brock Lesnar’s name. Heyman said that Lesnar is a prizefighter that wants to fight for the biggest prize of them all at WrestleMania. Heyman said that the WWE Champion defending the title against Brock Lesnar is a great box office idea. Stephanie suggested that they take this conversation behind closed doors. They walked into the office.
Analysis: I like the way they interacted. It’s a good way to keep people interested in seeing what Lesnar’s role might be later.
Stardust entered for a match. He is wearing some David Bowie-like facepaint in tribute to legendary musician who died on Monday. Very cool. I was listening to a lot of Bowie songs most of Monday.
Titus O’Neil vs. Stardust
This match again? Poor Cody. They showed New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees at ringside with his family. O’Neil was on offense early on with backbreakers. Stardust nailed a dropkick. Big boot to the face by O’Neil in his comeback to little reaction. Corner splash by O’Neil. Stardust with a Side Effect that Cole reacted to with: “Uh oh, this could be it guys!” I miss Mauro Ranallo calling moves on Smackdown. Stardust missed an attack off the top that wasn’t even close, which led to O’Neil hitting the Clash of the Titus for the win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Titus O’Neil
Analysis: *1/2 It was just an okay match like all of their other matches. WWE really wants to get O’Neil over as a threat going into the Royal Rumble. He’s a big guy that does a lot of great charity work for them, so I get why they want to turn him into a bigger star. I just think they need to get him a real feud instead of beating Stardust nearly every week.
Post match, Stardust attacked the back of the leg of O’Neil and then tossed him into the barricade. They played Stardust’s music even though he just lost a short match. Short memories by the music people.
Analysis: I feel bad for Cody because he really is one of the most talented guys on the roster, but this gimmick is pretty bad. It’s not going to get him anywhere. I hope he’s back to being Cody Rhodes soon.
PLUG TIME: There’s a lot to plug since I’ve been writing so much since the new year. A quick rundown: Here’s the TJRWrestling Staff Prediction column where our team of 21 writers comes up with five predictions each for wrestling in 2016…This is my review of last week’s Smackdown – I’ll be reviewing it every week going forward…Over at TheComeback.com, I’ve got an article talking about Cena’s injury, the NJPW guys coming to WWE and some Royal Rumble thoughts…Lastly, at AwfulAnnouncing.com I wrote about the great job Mauro Ranallo did announcing on Smackdown while also praising the return of heel Jerry Lawler. I hope you can read it all if you haven’t done so yet. Thanks for the support!
The Highlight Reel With Chris Jericho And The New Day
Chris Jericho walked out wearing his light up jacket along with some ridiculous scarf thing. I don’t know why he wears the scarf. He showed images on the Jeritron 6500 from people that were excited about Jericho coming back. He put over his “Rooty Tooty Booty” phrase. He said he’ll leave the Royal Rumble as the 7-time World Champion.
The New Day trio of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods walked out with the Tag Team Titles along with the trombone. Woods said that since Jericho didn’t introduce them, they had to save Jericho from himself. Big E said that they’ve had enough of the hot garbage and the booty chatter. Jericho wondered if they were mad that he called them “Rooty Tooty Booty” and then repeated it. New Day reacted in an over the top way. Woods mentioned they were the Tag Team Champions while Kingston said they were the real Slammy Award winning Tag Team of the Year. Big E said they had enough.
The Usos interrupted with microphones along with their Slammy Awards. Jey wondered if they were the Tag Team of the Year, why are they (The Usos) are holding the Slammys. Woods said that the only team worse than them as tag team of the year is Ricky Gervais and Mel Gibson. Kingston pointed out how there’s only two of them and three of the New Day.
Jericho: “Hold on, dumbass.” Jericho pointed out how there’s six of them in the ring tonight. He said he doesn’t have wrestling gear on, so how about they do a tag match and called Xavier “Javier” because that’s his classic bit about messing up names. Jericho said he’d be in The Usos corner. Cole wondered if it will happen. Gee, I wonder.
Analysis: He’s one of my favorite wrestlers ever, but 45-year-old scarf wearing Jericho isn’t cool like he was for much of his career. His heel work is so much more fun. This was one of the worst New Day segments because Jericho’s act just doesn’t fit in as much as it used to.
The New Day’s Big E & Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) vs. The Usos (w/Chris Jericho)
This is not for the Tag Team Titles. The announcers talked about how The Usos were on a roll. I’m pretty sure they lost their title matches against New Day, but WWE commentary likes to forget things. Jimmy Uso did a dance as well as a DAP pose. Big E nailed a big back elbow to knock down Jey. That’s some triceps meat right there. Kingston missed a corner splash on Jey, so Jimmy tagged in and connected with a splash as well as a dropkick. Jimmy nailed a running butt splash with JBL shouting out uncle Umaga and daddy Rikishi doing that move in the past. Jimmy went on the top rope, but Kingston shoved him off. Woods started playing the trombone at ringside in celebration. Jericho scared him off as they went to break.
The heels were still in control as they isolated Jimmy. Kingston whipped Jimmy down by his hair. Big E nailed his running splash on the side of the apron. Woods played some trombone. Jimmy punched Big E and Kingston tagged in. He tried to keep Jimmy from making the tag and Big E yanked Jey off the apron to prevent the tag. Clothesline by Big E on the floor to Jimmy. Kingston hit the Boom Drop. Jimmy came back with an enziguri kick on Kingston. Jey with the hot ag against Big E with some punches, a dropkick and a dive over the top that took out both Big E and Kingston. Back in the ring, Jey wit ha cross body block on Big E for two. Big E with a belly to belly suplex for two. Jey nailed a superkick on Big E and then he hit one on Kingston. Jey to the top, Woods on the apron and Kingston tripped him up. Jericho had the trombone, which he blew in Woods face. Jericho broke the trombone over his knee. Woods was crying at ringside: “WHY!?!?!” Kingston was looking out to see what happened and Jey nailed a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the win. It went 15 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Usos
Analysis: **1/2 It was okay, but probably five minutes too long for that kind of match with a silly ending. I think they’ve had better matches. That finish really was all about the trombone ending and it was as if the match had stopped for a minute so they could do that ridiculous spot. I think ending it on the dreaded ROLLUP OF DEATH~! was bad because all it did was made me groan. They should have had Kingston walk into a superkick, then tag in Jimmy and have him hit a splash off the top so at least the ending is more decisive than what they did. Also, champions losing in a non-title match happens way too often. They need some undercard matches at the Rumble, so looks like they’ll do New Day vs. Usos there for the titles there.
The announcers showed pics of John Cena’s shoulder surgery last week that were posted on WWE.com as well. Cole just said he’ll be out “a number of months.”
Analysis: The timetable has been anywhere from 4-6 months at best to 6-9 months. He’s a fast healer, but I doubt it’s less than four months. He’ll miss WrestleMania in a match although it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s there in some capacity. I wrote quite a bit about Cena’s injury right here. It’s pretty cool that Cesaro was there to support him considering he recently had shoulder surgery as well. Both of them will be missed.
Kalisto faces Alberto Del Rio for the US Title later on Raw.
Stephanie McMahon and Paul Heyman were in her office. Heyman said the biggest box office they can go for is the WWE Champion defending the WWE Title at WrestleMania against Brock Lesnar. Heyman told her that Brock Lesnar says no to being in the Rumble match. Stephanie told Lesnar that Vince McMahon – the Chairman who owns his contracts – says Lesnar will compete in the Royal Rumble. She told Heyman to never get that close to her face again. Heyman said he’ll go handle this.
Analysis: It’s a smart way to build up Lesnar for later in the show where it’s obvious he’s going to destroy some people.
JBL was in the ring to announce the first member for the WWE Hall of Fame class in 2016: Sting. An awesome video package aired about his career.
Analysis: He was my first guess for the Hall of Fame this year because he’s 56 years old and probably shouldn’t wrestle again after suffering a neck injury in September. I don’t expect him to wrestle another match in WWE, but I could be wrong on that. Other top candidates for headline names were guys like The Undertaker and The Rock. Sting’s older than both of them, so it’s better to put him in now. For the people that think Sting doesn’t deserve it because of so few matches in WWE, you’re wrong. WWE bought WCW and they can do as they wish with anybody that spent the majority of their careers there. It’s been this way since 2004 when they started doing the HOF ceremony during WrestleMania weekend. I'll be there for WrestleMania, but don't have plans on going to the HOF ceremony because I went in 2011, felt it was too long and I'd rather go somewhere else to have fun when I'm on a trip. Plus, I can watch it on WWE Network anyway.
They showed some reaction to Sting’s Hall of Fame induction news from Monday afternoon including NBA superstar LeBron James saying that Sting is one of his favorites. Hall of Fame tickets are on sale this Friday with a pre-sale on Wednesday. The HOF ceremony is on Saturday, April 2.
The Wyatt Family made their entrance. This week on Smackdown there’s a Tables Match with The Dudleys vs. The Wyatt Family. How many times can The Dudleys lose to them? Apparently we need to see it again.
Bray Wyatt was in the ring with his Wyatt Family guys behind him. He was about to talk when the Social Outcasts music hit.
The Social Outcasts are Heath Slater, Bo Dallas, Adam Rose and Curtis Axel. They have #SocialOutcasts shirts. Slater said they are going viral. Rose said they see monsters, trolls and a big stinky ogre. Axel said they are four links with one chain. Dallas said they are together like the “four musketeers.” Everybody looked at him like an idiot. Slater said they are there for a fight.
Analysis: Comedy heels are idiots and that was the goal of that promo. Dallas didn’t mess up his musketeers line – he was booked to mess it up and come off like an idiot. It’s WWE comedy.
The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) vs. The Social Outcasts (Heath Slater, Curtis Axel, Adam Rose & Bo Dallas
Strowman tossed all four guys around pretty easily. Wyatt tagged in to finish off Axel. Ryback’s music hit.
Ryback ran into the ring. I guess the match is over. He went after the Wyatt Family. Strowman pulled Wyatt out of the ring to prevent an attack. Ryback nailed Rowan with a clothesline to send him over the top to the floor. It led to all of the Wyatt Family guys leaving.
Match Result: It Doesn’t Matter
Analysis: What a brutal segment this was. They should push The Wyatt Family as a dominant heel faction that can’t be stopped. Instead, Ryback easily dispatches them with a bunch of comedy heels who I guess are faces now since they are losers. Why not use the Rumble as the perfect time to really book The Wyatt Family the right way? What a waste.
A replay aired of Kalisto’s win over Del Rio on Smackdown. I thought it was a great match for under ten minutes.
Kalisto was interviewed by Renee Young. Kalisto said the US Championship means the world to him because it symbolizes opportunity especially for Latino people fighting for an opportunity. He spoke about how John Cena and Eddie Guerrero fought for pride, but Del Rio isn’t like that. Kalisto said he’s going to give it all.
Analysis: Solid promo by Kalisto. He’s from Chicago, so it’s not like he’s a guy from Mexico that can’t speak English well. I hope he continues to get more opportunities to do promos like that.
The US Champion Alberto Del Rio did a promo. He said “Juanito” aka John Cena isn’t there because of him. He told fans that Cena isn’t going to be in the Royal Rumble match and he’s not going to WrestleMania. Del Rio said Cena’s not going to WrestleMania because he (Del Rio) broke him. Del Rio said Kalisto’s like a mosquito because he’s annoying and his life is meaningless, but he squashes mosquitoes like him.
Analysis: A fine heel promo.
United States Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto
Del Rio was really aggressive early on with some clotheslines and a DDT led to Kalisto rolling out to the floor. Del Rio hit a punch off the top. Why waste time going to the top rope if the move is going to be a punch? Feels like a waste. Kalisto nailed a seated senton off the top followed by the corkscrew cross body block. Del Rio caught him and nailed a Powerbomb for two. He tossed Kalisto out of the ring. Del Rio kicked him on the floor and then applied a chinlock in ring. JBL said Del Rio is what a champion looks like, not an urchin with a mask on. Kalisto nailed a kick to the face followed by a flying headscissors, which Cole reacted to by saying “there goes Del Rio.” Please just call a move. Kalisto went for a dive outside the ring, but Del Rio sidestepped it and sent Kalisto in the barricade. Great spot to go into the commercial.
Back from break, Kalisto went for a cross body block as Del Rio moved and covered for two. Del Rio nailed a suplex. Cole called Smackdown a “record setting” night, which is ridiculous if he’s talking about viewership because even though the numbers were up from what they were on Syfy, they are still down from previous years. WWE has a weird way of putting things over. Kalisto nailed a hurricanrana off the top. The bump by Del Rio wasn’t in a fluid motion, but it was good enough. Great DDT by Kalisto gets a two count. Del Rio came back with a backbreaker to slow him down. Kalisto nailed a surprise kick to the face for two. Kalisto was on the top, Del Rio kicked him down and Del Rio nailed a reverse suplex off the top. A big spot that was sold well by Kalisto. Del Rio countered the Salida del Sol by sending him rib first into the top rope. Del Rio went for his double foot stomp against the turnbuckle, but Kalisto moved. Kalisto did a snap hurricanrana that sent Del Rio face first into the mat for two. That was an excellent nearfall that the crowd really bought into. Del Rio with a kick to the ribs, he picked him up and Kalisto did a forward roll into the pin for the win after 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall and New United States Champion: Kalisto
Post match, Kalisto celebrated with the US Title while Del Rio was upset about it. Cole did a good job of calling it one of the biggest upsets in the history of Raw. JBL said it’s impossible. They showed replays to put it over as a big moment as well. A quick promo from Kalisto there would have worked well, but it's okay.
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a great title match that was given a lot of time and was treated like a big deal. Del Rio was really good as an aggressive heel who made every move count. Kalisto’s outstanding as an underdog. The story was that every time Kalisto made the comeback, Del Rio would think of something to slow him down. One of the things I have written about for years is that they need to do more title matches on television. It makes people care about matches on Raw more. This is the second title change on TV in the last month since Reigns beat Sheamus in December as well. I think WWE is smart to push Kalisto as an underdog babyface especially because they need a Latin face star with no Rey Mysterio around. He’s similar to Mysterio in a lot of ways and has a bright future since he’s still in his late 20s. I didn’t expect the title change here – I figured it would be at the Royal Rumble. It’s not like Del Rio deserved to have a really long run anyway, but Kalisto beating a guy like Del Rio is a big deal.
Still to come, Roman Reigns in a “One Versus All” match.
Last week on Raw, Lynch beat Charlotte in a non-title match because every show needs a champion losing a non-title match.
Charlotte and her father Ric Flair were interviewed by Jojo. Charlotte wondered she’s the bad guy – did a man write that line for her? I guess you could say it's just an expression. Anyway, she said she’ll do anything to stay champion. Charlotte told Becky she’ll never be as good as her. She said Becky’s the villain and she’s the victim. Flair said “that’s my little girl” and let out a “WOO” to end it.
Oh no it’s the Brie Mode song as Brie Bella made her entrance with Alicia Fox. That song is worse than the worst hangovers I’ve had in my life and I’ve had a few. Hopefully she never plays that song for her husband Daniel Bryan because he’s the man and doesn’t deserve to hear that trash.
The Divas Champion Charlotte made her entrance.
With Charlotte getting in the ring, Becky Lynch ran in there to attack her. Lynch attacked her with punches as referee Charles Robinson tried to break it up. Fans were chanting for Becky. Other refs showed up to pull Lynch off of her.
Ric Flair tossed his jacket down. He did a promo saying that the Divas Champion is not wrestling all because of Becky Lynch. Charlotte slowly left the ring. Then Ric said “What are you gonna do about it, fat boy?” to referee Charles Robinson. Brie looked upset about it in the ring, but Ric just left with Charlotte.
Analysis: What a Divas Revolution huh? I'm being facetious. I don't mind it. At least there’s some storyline involved with Lynch getting revenge on Charlotte after the heel turn of Charlotte last week. Ric busting out a “fat boy” is always fun.
Heyman was shown with Brock Lesnar backstage. We couldn’t hear what they were saying.
Lynch was interviewed by Jojo. She said that Charlotte was the one person she trusted more than anybody. She complained about how Charlotte uses her Hall of Fame father for protection. Lynch said that she’s alone and her emotions are exactly where they should be. Lynch said she’s the woman that made her tap out and she’ll do it again.
Analysis: That was a damn good promo from Lynch. She doesn’t get a chance to talk much, but she showed she’s very capable when given an opportunity.
A recap of Stephanie McMahon and Paul Heyman talking from earlier.
The WWE Champion Roman Reigns entered for the main event with over 30 minutes of show time left counting commercials. Some girl took a selfie with Reigns in the background and seemed to be proud of it. "Like OMG look at me with Roman Reigns. Better post this on Instagram!" You go, girl.
This week on Smackdown it’s the Dudley Boyz vs. The Wyatt Family in a Tables Match plus Dean Ambrose & Neville against Sheamus & Kevin Owens. There’s also going to be Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio in a US Title match. That’s the third show in a row with that match.
Analysis: Good for WWE announcing three matches in advance on Smackdown. It’s important to hype it up.
The WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and daughter Stephanie appeared on the stage to bring out the heels that will face Reigns led by Sheamus, Del Rio, Owens, the Wyatt Family, New Day, The Ascension, Tyler Breeze and Stardust. They all marched down to the ring.
Kevin Owens was sent in the ring by McMahon. Vince did a promo to set up the first ever “One Versus All” match. Stephanie said that Roman will face all of these men until he can no longer move. All of the guys went into the ring. Then Vince said we’ll start with Owens to make this fair and square.
Roman Reigns In A “One Versus All” Match
Owens started out in control as the McMahons watched from ringside. Owens took a breather and then received some words of encouragement from The New Day. Owens nailed some punches followed by a back elbow to knock down Reigns. Chinlock city time by Owens. I like how The Ascension are there as if the crowd thinks of them as threats. This was a long chinlock for over one minute. Reigns nailed a punch followed by a neckbreaker. Sheamus distracted Reigns, so Owens nailed a superkick to knock him down. Then a senton splash by Owens on the floor. Time for a break.
Analysis: My feeling with this match is why even have a match? It's not like the match matter. We know there's just going to be interference anyway. It's just wasting time. I don't blame the crowd for not giving a shit.
Back from break, Reigns nailed a kick and then Owens tossed Reigns outside the ring. Owens hit a fallaway slam that sent Reigns into the barricade at ringside. There was a replay of a spot during the break with Owens hitting a Frog Splash on Reigns on the floor. Reigns with a back suplex. Superkick by Owens for two and then another chinlock. Reigns missed a corner charge. Owens connected with the cannonball splash in the corner. It was pretty funny to see Vince and Stephanie react to that in a big way. Owens missed a running senton and Reigns started the comeback.
Reigns nailed a series of punches, then some clotheslines and a leaping clothesline as well. Vince pointed out all the other guys on the floor waiting for Roman. More clotheslines for Reigns and a boot to the face.
Match Result: Sorry but WWE doesn't care to give you a real match result
The attacks began as Reigns took out The Ascension, Stardust and Tyler Breeze. He did the rollup into the Powerbomb spot on Breeze and then he nailed a Spear on Breeze. I guess we can end the match portion here.
Analysis: **1/2 The Reigns/Owens portion of the match was pretty good, but then it just sort of disintegrated after that and it’s hard to rate it like a proper match. Still, they went at it pretty hard for like 15 minutes, so it was good in that sense. I’m not sure if booking them in a long singles match is the best way of doing this.
All of the heels were in the ring attacking Reigns. He was held up so that Del Rio could nail him with a standing side kick to the head. Sheamus followed up with a Brogue Kick. Cole said Sheamus has been waiting a long time for this. They had a match last week. I guess one week is a "long time" for it.
Brock Lesnar’s music hit. Big ovation for Lesnar as he walked down to the ring in a Suplex City shirt with Heyman behind him.
Lesnar stared at Reigns. Then Lesnar nailed clotheslines on two of the New Day guys and hit a suplex on Big E. German Suplex by Lesnar on Owens. Clothesline by Lesnar on Del Rio. Sheamus went after Lesnar, but Lesnar took him down with a clothesline and a German Suplex by Lesnar on Del Rio. Belly to belly suplex by Lesnar on Sheamus. Where’s the Wyatt Family? They left, I guess.
Lesnar brought Reigns to the center of the ring. He stared at him for a bit. Then Lesnar picked him up and nailed a F5 on Reigns. They're both faces and the crowd was cheering. Lesnar hopped around in the ring looking proud of what he did.
Lesnar walked up the ramp with Heyman while Reigns slowly turned his head to stare at him. They had a long distance staredown with Lesnar staring from the ramp while Reigns was in the ring. They both had cocky grins on their faces as the show ended there.
Analysis: That did a good job of putting the focus on the Rumble match on Lesnar and Reigns. Can Reigns overcome the odds by surviving 29 other guys or will Lesnar win? That’s the big question with the match.
The other factor is Triple H. He hasn’t been on TV, but they could always insert him in the match and have him win in the end. I think either Reigns, Lesnar or Hunter wins it. Right now I’m picking Reigns, but the win by Hunter makes a lot of sense too. I feel like Lesnar’s going to get attacked by Owens or Wyatt in the Rumble, lose because of them and then face one of them. That’s just a guess at this point. They could always do Reigns vs. Lesnar for the WWE Title at WM again and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Three Stars of the Show
2. Alberto Del Rio
3. Dean Ambrose
5.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 4, 4.5, 9, 4
I’m giving it a 5.5 out of 10.
It gets a score that is a notch below last week. The ending was strong and there was one really good match with Kalisto beating Del Rio for the US Title, but there were also some dead spots. That stuff with Jericho and New Day wasn’t good even though I like all of them. They just didn’t make it work.
Some other stuff was good included the opening match, Becky Lynch’s promo and Usos beating New Day was fine, but they’ve had better matches.
They need to do a better job of booking match finishes because some of them were so bad that it made me want to turn off the show.
That's it for this week. Check out the Smackdown review this week on TJRWrestling.net also.
PLUG TIME: We launched the brand new, weekly TJRWrestling Podcast recently. My good friend Rey is co-hosting with me. Go check out and bookmark our Podbean page where we will upload new episodes every Wednesday morning. For iTunes you can click here or do a search for “TJRWrestling” (all one word) or “John Canton” and it should come up. All of our new episodes as well as previous episodes go up on our Podbean page so make sure you check that out on a regular basis.
Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Raptors.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
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