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The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 01/25/16

Posted By: John Canton on Jan 26, 2016

Live from Miami, Florida this is the Raw Deal for episode #1183. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. The use of “trips” in the banner is not an accident, I assure you.

Last night was the WWE Royal Rumble event. I thought it was pretty good although some of the booking choices in the main event were things that I didn’t necessarily like that much. Here’s my full review on TJRWrestling and another column about the show on Comeback Sports as well. There’s even an old guy joke in the title.

---

The show began with a video recap of the key events from the Royal Rumbel with Triple H leaving as the WWE Champion.

Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon entered for a promo. Shocking. The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show.

Vince told the crowd to shut up. Vince was wearing this yellow/brown tie. They bragged about how Reigns is a broken man while mocking the crowd for whimpering when they are broken. He said “you stay that way” to end it. He said he had a confession to make while claiming it’s his first confession. The crowd chanted “what” so Stephanie said the crowd was curious. Vince confessed he enjoyed the misery of others. Stephanie talked about how all the people thought somebody else would win, but they knew #30 would be Triple H. The fans chanted “AJ Styles” so that’s nice. Vince said it doesn’t matter who it is because they would wind up at the bottom of their shoes. Stephanie did a big intro for her husband Triple H, who is the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

Analysis: To be honest, I didn’t cover everything they said in the promo. It just kept going on and going on. Vince was trying so hard to get the crowd to cheer for Reigns or chant his name, but the crowd didn’t care. They cheered for Styles, so that’s pretty telling.

Triple H walked out onto the stage with his suit. Then he opened up the suit to reveal the WWE Title around his waist. JBL was saying Triple H may be the greatest of all time. Stephanie gave him water so he could do his classic water spit.

Hunter said it’s good to the be the king. He spoke about how Roman Reigns could be one of the most amazing athletes he’s ever seen, but he’s not. He said that Reigns lacks one thing: respect. He claimed that Reigns didn’t respect anything and called him cocky. He said that Reigns had to learn his place in life. Hunter sucked up to Vince saying Vince may as well be God because he created this. Hunter said this is his religion, his law and his church. He’ll be damned if Reigns will disrespect his religion. Is it wrong that I laughed at this serious promo because of how much he's sucking up to his father-in-law here? Just saying.

Hunter spoke about the naysayers that question why he needs to be WWE Champion. He said he doesn’t “need” to be WWE Champion, but he wants to be WWE Champion. He wants to be WWE Champion because people like Roman Reigns don’t deserve it. Up until he says so, he will be the WWE Champion until everybody in the back learns some respect. A mild “Roman” chant started. Took them long enough. Stephanie wondered who Triple H will teach a lesson in respect to at WrestleMania.

Stephanie it will be an “action packed” show where they will evaluate everybody. She said that by the end of the night, they’ll announce the main event of Fastlane and the winner of that Fastlane main event will face Triple H at WrestleMania. She said: “Believe that.” They left. Finally.

Analysis: The promo by Triple H was good in the sense that he showed a lot of confidence and wasn’t out there making jokes. He put it out there that he didn’t care if people hated him as WWE Champion – nobody can stop him. It was noticeable that he really only mentioned Reigns without mentioning others like Dean Ambrose, who finished second. No Brock Lesnar mention either. It was also noticeable that the crowd barely made any noise when Roman’s name was mentioned about a dozen times in that promo. If they cared they would chant for him more yet there was only a mild chant. It’s not a good sign.

The announcers mentioned the tweet from earlier on Monday about a big star returning. "Hey everybody, check out this rumor that we started." Funny how that works.

Chris Jericho will face AJ Styles in AJ’s first Raw match. That’s great.

(Commercial)

Dolph Ziggler entered for a match. They showed the rapper Flo Rida at ringside. Maybe he’ll feud with Heath Slater again. The Rock's mom is ringside too, so that's probably a giveaway for the big star returning. Kevin Owens entered and he’s limping, which is called selling a beating from the night before.

Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler

Owens was aggressive from the start as he sent Ziggler into the barricade at ringside. Ziggler was able to bounce back with a dropkick, which caused Owens to roll to the floor for a break.

(Commercial)

Owens took him to Chinlock City as they returned to break. Ziggler hit a Fameasser for two. Ziggler applied the sleeper. Remember when WWE tried to get that over as a finisher for him? Didn’t work. Owens went for a cannonball, but Ziggler and Ziggler missed a corner splash. Owens nailed a German suplex, but then he ran right into a Ziggler superkick for two. Really good nearfall. Owens shoved Ziggler down when they were battling on the top rope. Boot to the face by Owens. Ziggler was on the top rope, Owens tripped him up to crotch him. Owens nailed the Popup Powerbomb for the win after 10 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens

Post match, Owens was still selling the pain in his left arm from a night earlier. Owens stared at the WrestleMania sign. The announcers were pushing the idea that Owens impressed The Authority with that win.

Analysis: *** A good match for ten minutes like you would expect from two of the best in-ring performers in WWE. Owens gets the clean win to make him look good after the loss at the Rumble. I always want to see them do more for Ziggler, but at this point I don’t really expect it to happen. Another five minutes would have helped it reach another level of greatness. It was still solid for the time given.

The former WWE Champion Roman Reigns was shown backstage. He was interviewed by Jojo. He told her to let Vince and Triple H know that he is there.

Analysis: My question: Aren’t they watching the show to see that he’s there? I don’t expect an answer.

(Commercial)

The Social Outcasts foursome of Heath Slater, Bo Dallas, Adam Rose & Curtis Axel were in the ring. Slater went up to them because they had some brief rivalry a few years ago. They suggested he goes into the ring. Flo went into the ring to face them. He’s bigger than most of them.

Slater said they wanted to challenge him to a rap. Flo was surprised by it. Heath said they have Bo Rida there, so they put a hat, glasses and chain on Bo. It led to a Bo rap talking about how Rida got into an issue with Slater at WM28 and insulted the state of Florida. It led to the other Outcasts reacting to this as if it was great. I was entertained by it!

Flo Rida did a rap about how Slater did a sucker punch and he wanted to wrap his fist on Slater’s jaw. He managed to work Ric Flair’s name into the rap and then ended it by introducing the Dudley Boys. Looks like a tag match after the break.

Analysis: I laughed at Bo’s rap, so it worked in that sense. I'm not a rap battle expert, but I like Bo more so he's my pick. Deal with it. I don’t mind the Social Outcasts as a heel comedy group. You need people in different roles and they are entertaining. It's so nice of the Outlaws to call out Flo Rida so that he can introduce the Dudleys. Amazing how these things happen huh? Rhetorical question.

(Commercial)

Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel (w/Adam Rose & Heath Slater) vs. The Dudley Boyz (w/Flo Rida)

The heels worked on Bubba for a few minutes and then D-Von got the hot tag against Axel. D-Von nailed a neckbreaker on Axel, splash in the corner and a shoulder tackle gets two. Double team neckbreaker by the Dudleys. They knocked Rose off the apron. Slater was on the apron, then the ropes and Flo Rida dumped him into the ring. Bubba nailed a slam on Slater followed by D-Von with the Wassup Drop headbutt. Even Flo Rida did the “Wassup” part. Axel ran in the ring and was met with a 3D for the win. They weren’t sure who was legal, but it was D-Von and they won after about five minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Dudley Boyz

Post match, the Dudleys celebrated with Flo Rida.

Analysis: * It was just a short match to do some interaction with Flo Rida since he’s a celebrity that WWE likes that also has a WrestleMania theme song this year. Nothing more to it than that, really. I’m interested in seeing if WWE will push the Dudleys to the Tag Titles because this April is 20 years since they started teaming together. It would be cool to see if they can win the gold again. It’s an easy story to tell at least.

AJ Styles was interviewed backstage by Renee Young. She asked who he was for those that don’t know. AJ said he turned the WWE Universe upside last night. Chris Jericho said he’s been waiting for a long time to have him in WWE finally in the big time. Jericho told him he’s done a lot, but he’s never been here. Tonight, Styles has a chance to make a big impression. Jericho: “Welcome to the big leagues, kid.” He slapped AJ on the shoulder and left. That match is next.

Analysis: Styles barely spoke before Jericho showed up to be the hype man. It was a bit heelish by Jericho, but it could just be a way to hype the match. Also, Styles is already one of the oldest guys on the roster since he's 39 years old this year, but calling him "kid" is okay since Jericho is 45! That was the end of hour one. Not a great hour aside from Owens vs. Ziggler match.

(Commercial)

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Chris Jericho made his entrance. AJ Styles got a bit of pyro for his entrance. I think AJ Styles said on his way to the ring: "This is where I should have been the whole time." Damn right. It’s nice that he gets to use the name and the “Phenomenal One” nickname.

Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles

It’s so damn cool seeing Styles in a WWE ring. There was a slow pace a bit early on. Styles tried to use his speed, but Jericho outsmarted him. Jericho nailed a springboard dropkick with Styles on the apron that Styles sold really well by going to the floor. Jericho nailed a vertical suplex in the ring followed by a dropkick off the middle rope. Styles came back with a dropkick of his own that sent Jericho to the floor. Styles went for an attack on the floor, but Jericho tripped him up to send Styles face first into the mat. They went to break five minutes into it.

Analysis: The story so far is Jericho on offense with Styles unable to get going yet.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Styles started to heat up with some kicks and a leaping clothesline in the corner. Jericho went for the Walls, but Styles fought out and did a fireman’s carry into a backbreaker to the upper back of Jericho. Jericho with a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Styles bridged out of it, backslide for two and Jericho nailed a running enziguri kick to the head for two. Styles with a boot to the gut and the springboard forearm shot to the face. That’s one of his signature spots he’s been doing for years. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho on Styles in the middle of the ring. Styles fought it with the crowd rooting him on. Styles made it to the ropes. Jericho went after him, Styles ducked and Styles hit the Pele Kick that Cole just called “oh” and then he used the name a moment later. Styles went for a Frog Splash and missed. Jericho with the Lionsault, Styles blocked it with his knees up. Styles wanted a Styles Clash, Jericho fought out of it for a nearfall and then Styles turned it up into a rollup where he pinned Jericho with his legs on Jericho’s arms. It was enough for the three count. It went about 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles

Analysis: ***1/4 That was a really good debut for Styles. They booked it in a way where Jericho controlled the majority of the match although there wasn’t a point in the match where it looked like he might win except when he applied the Walls of Jericho. It was weird a bit because Styles didn’t hit that many of his big offensive moves. No finisher either. I think they should have put him over with his finisher, but they are probably going to do another match down the road, so they could be saving it for a more decisive win. This was more of an even match rather than something with a clear winner. There were a few moments where they were off a bit, but it was nothing that bad. I’m impressed by Styles although I’ve watched him for years in TNA, New Japan and ROH, so I know how awesome he is. It’s cool to see him in WWE with so many potential matchups for him. Give Jericho credit as well because at 45 years old he’s till capable of having a great match like that.

Post match, Styles and Jericho had a long staredown. Styles extended his hand. Jericho took a moment to think about it and then shook his hand. Jericho had a staredown with him. Then Jericho left.

Analysis: They could have Jericho turn heel to further the feud. A rematch on another episode of Raw or Fastlane would be cool. The rumor is Styles will face Owens at Fastlane, but I'd still like to see this match again.

They showed a limo arriving to the arena to see who the major star is. We won’t find out now because here’s a commercial.

(Commercial)

The great Sasha Banks made her way to the ring on her own. No sign of Team BAD with Banks here. Pictures were shown from the Royal Rumble when Banks put the Banks Statement on Charlotte. She’s against Becky Lynch.

Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch

Lynch slammed Banks into the turnbuckle and kicked her. Hard slap by Banks as the crowd chanted “NXT” a bit. JBL was mocking the hair noting the orange hair, pink hair and no hair of the bald referee. He said it was like The Muppets out there. Lynch nailed some clotheslines as well as a jumping side kick. Forearm shot in the corner by Lynch. Exploder Suplex by Lynch gets two. Double knee attack by Banks in the corner. Lynch applied an armbar, but Banks countered with a rollup. Banks sent her into the ropes, knees to the back and the Banks Statement on Lynch. Charlotte attacked Banks after five minutes to end the match.

Match Result: Disqualification

Analysis: ** They were on their way to a good finish for Banks when Charlotte interfered. That’s how you put over a heel as being a selfish jerk. It will also help Banks in her slow face turn. I liked the back and forth style of the match with each girl getting a chance to shine. No finish also will allow them to do the match again with a finish for one of the girls going over. Does anybody care that Team BAD was nowhere to be found? No. That angle is dead. Just let Banks be on her own.

Charlotte tossed Banks out of the ring and then Charlotte went after Lynch. She nailed a suplex on Lynch. Banks went after Charlotte, but that didn’t work because Charlotte nailed the Natural Selection neckbreaker on Banks. Charlotte held up her Divas Title over her two fallen rivals.

Analysis: The result works because it pisses off the fans. It also likely sets up a triple threat at Fastlane. Have Charlotte retain there. Then I think it will lead to Banks vs. Charlotte at WrestleMania with Banks winning the title there.

Backstage, Goldust and R-Truth were backstage. Goldust said that he was looking for a new partner. R-Truth didn't really get what he was saying as he mentioned that he’s a married man. Goldust was confused. R-Truth said he didn’t swing that way. Truth just left. Goldust said he wanted a new tag team partner…Golden Truth. He told him to think about it.

Analysis: That was pretty funny. I like both of those guys and think they’d be funny as a comedy veteran face tag team. The Golden Truth sounds like a good name too. I'm all for midcarders teaming up to form teams. They need more guys to do that.

Kane vs. Bray Wyatt up next.

(Commercial)

This week on Smackdown it’s Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose as the guests. I’ll review that show likely for a Friday posting.

Bray Wyatt (w/Luke Harper, Erick Rowan & Braun Strowman) vs. Kane

Wyatt was aggressive early. Cole mentioned that they faced off in a tag match at Survivor Series, but didn’t mention that the Wyatt Family lost. They want to push Wyatt, so they don’t want to mention losses. Wyatt nailed a forearm shot to the back and it’s a commercial two minutes into it.

(Commercial)

Wyatt had Kane in the headline. The crowd looked like they were riled up about something in the crowd while not caring about the match. I could see some security guy go over to some guys in costumes. Wyatt nailed a cross body attack. The fans were pre-occupied with a guy dressed like Randy Savage in the front row. They cheered when he stood up. Another “Randy Savage” chant. Kane with a boot to the face. Wyatt went to the floor. The announcers didn’t mention the chant. Harper was on the apron, so Kane knocked him off with a punch and Wyatt nailed a clothesline. Wyatt hit Sister Abigail to win the match after about seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bray Wyatt

Analysis: * It was about seven minutes long, but only four minutes were actually shown on the broadcast. There was really no flow to the match and the crowd didn’t care because they were busy chanting for the fan dressed like Randy Savage in the first row. I’m not sure if the wrestlers were mad about it, but I doubt they were too happy. Wyatt getting the win is no surprise. As a heel, it’s fine for him to win a cheap manner. Kane’s barely noticeable anymore.

Post match, Strowman did his chokehold on Kane and then Harper/Rowan did a double chokeslam to drop Kane. Wyatt posed over top of Kane to celebrate.

Analysis: Since Big Show is back to being a face again, I wonder if they'll have him and Kane team up to put over the other Wyatt Family guys. I'm not a huge fan of the idea. I just think it's possible.

The person in the limo could be next.

(Commercial)

There was a video for WrestleMania to the tune of a Flo Rida song. It’s one of the official WrestleMania songs. I hope Bo Dallas’ song is one of the songs. It’s 69 days until WrestleMania by the way. Cue the people that laugh at the #69 when they see it.

They sent announcer Rich Brennan to the limo. It was The Miz. The Rock showed up in a truck. He told Miz to park his truck. He saw rapper Ricky Rozay back there and they chatted it up.

Rock saw Big Show backstage. He reminded him of when he won the 2000 Royal Rumble. Then they argued about the finish with Rock saying that Big Show should have won. Rock went on this spiel about how the director of The Mummy Returns wanted to put the winner of that match in their movie. He did this over the top bit about all the roles he had. Big Show had a laptop in his hand and he crushed it.

He continued to walk to the arena, but he stopped again. He saw Lana backstage. Rock told a story about how he met them in Brooklyn, which was on Raw in October 2014. Then there was a story about how they got drunk in his hotel room while suggesting that they had some fun times together. He said things like how they did great moves like the “one legged Russian vacuum” and the “DJ mustache ride.” Then Rusev showed up to see them. Rock asked if they were still together. She said they’re going to get married. Rock told Rusev she’s flexible as hell. That was clever.

The Rock talked about how his day started at 3AM, he worked out and filmed some of his show Ballers that day. Then said he had to end his night by coming to the American Airlines Arena. He took his time to say “Finally The Rock has come back…home.”

 

 

Analysis: Wow. That was just part of a backstage stroll. The bit with Big Show was funny with Show made to look like a fool. The part with him suggesting that he got it on with Lana was clever although a bit crude too.

The Rock made his way into the arena. Huge ovation for him as his music played. He even took a selfie with a girl at ringside. He finally got into the ring with a microphone in hand.

Before he could say a word, the fans chanted “this is awesome” for him. He asked them if they’re ready for WrestleMania. He said they’re going to break WrestleMania records. Then he said JBL is ready, Michael Cole is ready and the other black dude he doesn’t know is ready. They showed Saxton on commentary. That was funny. Rock smiled at him. Fans chanted “welcome back” at him while others chanted “Randy Savage” at the guy that was on camera before. Rock said this is the time where we go off the script. He saw the guys at ringside dressed like The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. The Hogan guy said his name was “brother.” Rock said the weed was good in Miami. There was even a Rock guy. He saved the best for last and it’s the Randy Savage guy. He said he was playing the Macho Man. Rock went back in the ring. It's funny how WWE moved them to the other side of the building for being a distraction, yet Rock was here putting them on camera.

The Rock said WrestleMania is down the road, but it’s about tonight. He did a little Scarface impression to try to talk about tonight. He was cut off by…The New Day.

The New Day trio of Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods interrupted Rock. Woods said that Byron Saxton was the best announcer there (“watch the product”), but that’s not saying much. Kingston said they whooped the Lucha Dragons, the Dudleys (from Rock’s era – they mentioned) and Rock’s cousins The Usos as well. Kingston said The New Day is representing. He said that The Rock calls himself the People’s Champion, but they don’t see any gold. Then they mentioned that they have some gold. Woods said that Francesca 2 is actually made of gold. Woods noted that they are the WWE World Tag Team Champions. Big E said that Rock looks like a guy that doesn’t eat his Booty-O cereal. Big E mentioned LeBron James moving from Miami to Cleveland and The Rock moved from Miami to Hollywood which means that he got the hell out of there. Kingston said Rock will say he did it for the people, but he did it for the paycheck. Big E said that they knew that because New Day rocks.

Analysis: That was fun. I like their hijinks especially when there’s some trash talk involved. They had some great lines in there too.

The Rock was in the ring while the three New Day guys were still outside the ring. Rock told them he knows who they are – the tag champs, entertaining and they wear llama penises on their head. Woods told him they were unicorn horns. Rock said they look like three chocolate cornholes running their mouths. Rock was mocking Big E for being so strong and so nerdy – it’s like The Incredible Hulk banged Urkel. The Rock suggested they come into the ring so that The Rock can shove that trombone up their candy asses. Big E called a champion’s huddle. Woods said that the people of Miami didn’t deserve to see it. They tried to leave.

The Rock said that when he’s out there, he always has a plan. However, plan B always works. Plan B is family and here come The Usos. They attacked the New Day and tossed Big E into the ring. Rock nailed Big E with a Rock Bottom. Samoan Drop by one of the Usos on Kingston. Woods was all alone. He ate a double superkick by The Usos. Rock with a spinebuster on Woods. The Rock hit a People’s Elbow on Woods. The Rock thanked the people of Miami and said we’ll see you at WrestleMania. Rock celebrated with The Usos to end the segment.

Analysis: It’s had to really summarize all of it because it was about 20 minutes straight of talking. I was really entertained by it. I’ve always loved The Rock and seeing him for a special appearance really makes him stand out. It’s smart to have him on the show whenever they can because there’s nobody else like him. While I’m sure some people will complain about The New Day getting beat up, it really isn’t a big deal. Plus, they were able to get a lot of good lines in there too. The segment was also good for The Usos because they were booed a bit at the Royal Rumble, so having The Rock with them was a way to get the crowd to cheer. I don’t think they should be booed anyway – those Orlando fans were a bit harsh in that regard. We still don’t know what The Rock will be doing at WrestleMania, but we know he’ll be there and this segment helped to reinforce that. The Rock is the best promo man in wrestling history. He proved it again. After all, he just got a crowd to chant "llama penis" for a bit. That's some talent.

 

 

It's Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns against Sheamus and Rusev later.

(Commercial)

Natalya & Paige vs. Alicia Fox & Brie Bella

It’s a tough spot for the girls following The Rock. The heels worked over Natalya early with Brie nailing a clothesline to knock her down. Brie worked over Natalya and went for her running knee, but Natalya broke free and Paige tagged in. Paige hit some knee attacks on Brie. Saxton tried to cover for all of Paige’s turns by saying she has had a tumultuous relationship with Natalya. What that really means is the booking is terrible. Paige went for her submission, Fox broke it up, Natalya sent Fox out of the ring and Paige hit the Rampaige DDT on Brie for the win. Match went three minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Natalya & Paige

Analysis: 1/2* A rushed match that we used to see from the divas all the time. That segment with The Rock likely went long, so the time was probably cut from this match. Then again, three minutes for a divas match used to be the standard.

There was a video package for WWE doing work with the Boys & Girls Club of America.

Later on Raw is an announcement of the Fastlane main event.

(Commercial)

The Miz was in the ring complaining about how he hates being interrupted. Then he was interrupted by Kalisto’s music.

Kalisto vs. The Miz

This is not for Kalisto’s US Title. Kalisto nailed a headscissors to send Miz to the floor followed by a suicide dive that took him out. JBL was saying that The Rock and Miz combined to sell millions of tickets. Good phrasing. Back in the ring, Miz with a back body drop, Kalisto with a dropkick, kick to the face and a flying cross body block gets a two count. Time for a break with Miz on the floor.

(Commercial)

The Miz was in control after the break. Corner clothesline by The Miz and then a double axehandle off the top by Miz. A backbreaker by Miz and then a nearfall by Kalisto. Miz with a book to the face for two. Kalisto with another nearfall. Kalisto got some kicks in and a springboard senton. Corkscrew attack off the middle rope by Kalisto gets two. Miz came back with a DDT for a two count. Miz went for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Kalisto fought out of it and hit the Salida del Sol for the win after about eight minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kalisto

Analysis: ** A clean win to put over the new US Champion. It’s nice to see a non-title win by a champion because they are often times booked to lose matches on television. I’m not sure who Kalisto will feud with next. I like his matches and hope he gets a good run as US Champion. As for Miz, they need to put him in a tag team or do something else because right now he’s a heel people laugh at like the Social Outcasts. The difference is he was the WWE Champion five years ago. It’s hard to believe when you watch him now.

Up next is Reigns and Ambrose vs. Sheamus and Rusev. That’s the main event.

(Commercial)

It was mentioned again that Jericho will host the Highlight Reel on Smackdown with Reigns and Ambrose as the guests.

Roman Reigns entered for the main event and Ambrose was second. Ambrose was the runner up to Triple H in the Royal Rumble. Sheamus and Rusev have Alberto Del Rio and King Barrett with them. No sign of Lana although she was backstage.

Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus & Rusev (w/Alberto Del Rio & King Barrett)

Ambrose hit an elbow drop off the top onto Sheamus and Rusev on the floor. They went to break two minutes into it.

(Commercial)

We return from the break with the standard heel applying a chinlock on a face this time with Sheamus grounding Reigns. Clothesline by Reigns on Sheamus. Tag to Ambrose, who hits forearms on Sheamus and a leaping clothesline. Back body drop by Ambrose sends Sheamus to the floor. Suicide dive by Ambrose on Sheamus. Ambrose was sent into the barricade at ringside. Rusev was the legal man and he sent Ambrose into the barricade a few times. Suplex by Rusev on Ambrose. The heels continued to focus on Ambrose in their corner. Ambrose nailed a back suplex on Rusev. Sheamus sent Ambrose to the floor and there’s The Rock’s mom at ringside. Ambrose nailed clothesline to take him down outside the ring. Hot tag to Reigns.

Reigns unloaded on Rusev with clotheslines, a kick and he tossed him over the top to the floor. Samoan Drop by Reigns on Sheamus on the floor. Drive By kick by Reigns on Rusev. Corner clotheslines by Reigns on Rusev and an uppercut. Other LON guys distracted Reigns so Rusev nailed a kick to the head. Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Reigns for a two count with Ambrose making the save. Rusev missed an attack on Ambrose so he went to the floor. Ambrose with a flying elbow attack on Rusev out of the ring. Reigns hit a Spear on Sheamus to win the match after 15 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose

Analysis: **1/2 It was a good tag match that felt repetitive because we’ve seen that match so many times before. I don’t think anybody watching the show felt like the heels were going to win, so that’s why there was little interest in the match. I was starting to doze off while it was going on because this show is too damn long. It was just a standard tag match that these guys do all the time. How many times in the last year have Reigns and Ambrose won tag matches against heels using almost the exact same spots every time? It feels like a repeat.

Post match, Reigns and Ambrose set up the French announce table that was at ringside. They picked up Rusev and Reigns hit a Shield like team Powerbomb through the English announce table.

Analysis: Revenge for what happened at the Royal Rumble. Story continuity is a good thing.

Stephanie McMahon did a promo from the ramp. She announced the main event of Fastlane will be a triple threat between Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar. Reigns and Ambrose just stared back to end the show at 11:10pmET.

Analysis: Reigns will win by pinning Ambrose, the Wyatt Family will cost Lesnar by attacking him and Ambrose will still be the Intercontinental Champion. I think it’s hilarious how The Authority hates Reigns, yet keeps giving him chances to win the WWE Title. I know they say they do what’s best for business, but it doesn’t make sense if they hate the guy. "Hey Roman, we just did everything we could to get the title off you, so here's another title shot!" It’s not a major complaint. Just one of those things where I have to roll my eyes with how WWE scripts their shows.

 

Three Stars of the Show

1. AJ Styles – His first time on Raw and it’s a good match. He deserves the first star.

2. The Rock – So good. Normally he’d be first star, but I had to give the nod to Styles.

3. Kevin Owens

 

The Scoreboard

6 out of 10

Last week: 4.5

2016 Average: 5.5

Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 5.5, 6, 4, 4.5

 

Final Thoughts

I’m giving it a 6 out of 10.

- That segment with The Rock and The New Day was gold. Everything that followed it was pretty boring partly because of how good that segment was. It’s fun any time The Rock is around. It would have been nice to see him interact with more people and maybe interject with some storyline, but it was more about having fun.

- I think they made a mistake by not having Reigns say something about losing the WWE Title. All he did was a short backstage interview. He should have spoken with passion about how he was screwed out of the title and he wants to get it back.

- Good to see AJ Styles in a WWE ring. He should have been there many years earlier, but I’m glad he’s finally there. The match with Jericho was solid. I hope they have more matches because they can improve on that.

- The Fastlane main event should be an awesome match even though the outcome will be obvious with Reigns winning. I’m just glad Lesnar’s involved because his presence helps.

- I felt like falling asleep in the last half hour of this show. Is it their fault or am I just tired? A little of both, I think.

---

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 – mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

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