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Live from Birmingham, Alabama this is the Raw Deal for episode #1184. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
Before we begin, there was some sad wrestling news shared by Bret Hart on social media where he mentioned he is dealing with prostate cancer. I think I speak for many wrestling fans when I say we love him and we are all thinking about him.
Last week's Raw ended with the announcement of the main event of Fastlane on February 21: Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar. The winner of that match faces Triple H for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 32 on April 3. If you missed Smackdown or just want to know what happened, here's my review of that. Let's get to Raw.
The Raw intro video played to open the show.
Brock Lesnar’s music hits as Lesnar walks out there in a black and red Suplex City shirt along with his advocate Paul Heyman by his side as usual. The announcers mentioned the Fastlane main event with Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Byron Saxton shown on screen talking about it.
There were loud “Suplex City” chants. Lesnar was smiling. Heyman did the big intro for himself and Lesnar. Heyman mentioned Bray Wyatt and his disciples having a conspiracy to remove Lesnar from the WWE Title picture. Heyman said their conspiracy failed. Heyman said Lesnar will enforce the 11th commandment: “Thou shalt not intentionally provoke Brock Lesnar.” Heyman gave Stephanie McMahon credit for doing what’s “beast for business” by setting up Ambrose vs. Reigns vs. Lesnar at Fastlane.
Heyman said his client has authorized him to let us know that Lesnar will imprison both Reigns and Ambrose into Suplex City. He yelled about Lesnar hitting the F5 on both guys, stack them on top of eachother and go on to the main event of WrestleMania where the beast will conquer the Billion Dollar trophy husband (hi Triple H) to be the Undisputed WWE Champion of the World. Heyman suggested that Reigns tell his buddy Ambrose about Lesnar with Heyman calling him a wacko and nutjob. Here comes Ambrose.
Ambrose got in Lesnar’s face and said to Heyman: “Who you calling a nutjob, porky?” Ambrose said he isn’t crazy, he isn’t stupid and he isn’t scared of Lesnar. He told Lesnar he respected Lesnar. Ambrose was there to tell Lesnar he wants the title – he wants it so bad he’ll fight his own brother and Lesnar for it. He admitted he didn’t want to fight Lesnar. He knows the beating he’s going to receive at Fastlane: “Take me to Suplex City, baby.” Ambrose talked about how he’s going to win at Fastlane and take the WWE Title from Triple H. Lesnar was laughing at him. Ambrose apologized to Heyman and said he was there to see what all the fuss was about. Ambrose left. Lesnar was laughing with Heyman.
Analysis: Two great talkers started off the show with Heyman delivering one of his usual great speeches and then Ambrose showing the kind of confidence that fans love in a babyface wrestler. They really don’t let Ambrose talk a lot, but that promo was really good. When he’s given the chance, he shows that he is one of the best promo men in the company. The story seems to be that Lesnar isn’t taking Ambrose seriously because he’s a smaller guy that has too much confidence. That will likely play into the match where they book Ambrose like he can win it. I think Reigns will win as planned, but it’s important to make Ambrose look good too. Also, it’s refreshing to start a Raw without a McMahon, so I’d say that opening segment was a step in the right direction.
Coming up later: Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler and up next is Kalisto against Rusev.
Kalisto made his entrance. Alberto Del Rio is on commentary in his ring gear. Rematch for Fastlane: Kalisto vs. Del Rio for the US Title. Glad to see Del Rio’s back injury isn’t serious enough to keep him out for long.
Kalisto vs. Rusev (w/Lana)
This is not for Kalisto’s US Title. It’s nice to see Lana in the corner of Rusev. I guess she’s still his valet in singles, but not in tags. I don’t know their reasoning for keeping her away at times. Kalisto with a dropkick on Rusev, but his hurricanrana didn’t work as Rusev caught him and hit a back elbow to knock Kalisto down. Del Rio kept calling Kalisto a mosquito. Kalisto was able to send Rusev out of the ring with headscissors. When he went for a diving attack, Rusev crushed him with a superkick. Big spot there. Commercial time.
Back from break, Rusev nailed a running splash on Kalisto in the corner followed by a suplex. Kalisto nailed a huge DDT off the ropes. JBL called it a “flippy floppy thing” as a way to attack Kalisto as a fluke champion. Kalisto nailed a corkscrew attack, but then Rusev caught him and nailed a spinning slam for two. Kalisto got a rollup for two after Rusev missed a corner charge. Kalisto went for a snap hurricanrana, but it didn’t look great. The better way to sell it is to take it, then roll to your side, but Rusev went to his knees. Dropkick by Kalisto sent Rusev to the floor. Cross body by Kalisto to the floor, Rusev caught him and Kalisto managed to come back with a dropkick that sent Rusev into the steps. The ref was counting them out. Rusev sent Kalisto onto the announce table, but Kalisto got back to his feet and nailed a headscissors to knock down Rusev. It looked like the ref stopped his count there, but then he kept going. Kalisto went into the ring at the count of nine and won by countout since Rusev couldn’t get back into the ring in time. It went ten minutes.
Winner by countout: Kalisto
Post match, Kalisto left the ring while Del Rio and Rusev yelled at him from inside the ring.
Analysis: ** It’s nice to see a champion actually win a non-title match since it’s so rare in today’s WWE. It wasn’t a decisive win because it was only a countout, but it still counts. I guess they went the countout route to try to keep Rusev strong even though he’s lost a lot of the momentum that he used to have. There were some good moments in the match. I actually liked the commentary a lot because they told the story well with Kalisto as the underdog and Del Rio (and JBL) trashing him for being small. That’s how you use commentary to get a guy over as an underdog. It can be done if they focus on the action like they did here.
Later on Miz TV the guest is AJ Styles.
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Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose were backstage in the office of The Authority. The WWE Title was on display in a case. Stephanie McMahon showed up to brag about Triple H winning the WWE Title. She pointed out how Dean would do anything for the title and Roman knows what it feels like. Reigns said that after Fastlane, one of them will be the number one contender. She said they were missing the third component – Brock Lesnar. She mentioned turns like Marty Jannetty didn’t see it coming from Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton didn’t see it coming from Evolution and they didn’t see it coming from Seth Rollins. She spoke about absolute power. She kept on trying to push their buttons by telling Dean he probably doesn’t want to be known as Roman’s sidekick. She put them in the main event of Raw against The New Day.
Analysis: As usual in a Stephanie McMahon promo, she spends most of her time recapping things that we already know before finally getting to the point. The tag match main event should be solid.
They mentioned Nikki Bella’s neck surgery last Wednesday. She has to stay home for at least three months and will document everything. From what I've read, it'll be at least six months out of action and maybe she'll get back in the ring after that although it's not a sure thing.
Brie Bella was interviewed by Renee Young. Brie said doctors are optimistic that Nikki will be back one day. The Divas Champion Charlotte showed up with her father Ric Flair by her side. She was being mean in talking to Brie about Nikki's health and taking a shot at Nikki by saying she hopes she enjoys sitting at home online shopping.
Analysis: Just a heel being mean. I like online shopping for what it’s worth.
The Usos entered for a match. Lilian Garcia called them "Grammy Award" winners. Oops. At least it rhymes with Slammy.
There was a replay of Garcia’s mistake before the break. It was a humorous mistake.
The Social Outcasts group of Heath Slater, Adam Rose & Curtis Axel walked to the ring. No Bo Dallas with them. They did a bit wondering where Bo Dallas was. Slater said “Bo Rida” was rapping in the studio.
Analysis: There were reports that Bo and his brother Bray Wyatt left Raw because their grandpa Blackjack Mulligan is in poor health, so the family (including their father Mike Rotunda/IRS) is all together to be by his side. I wish the family the best in this difficult time.
The Usos vs. Curtis Axel & Adam Rose (w/Heath Slater)
Rose hit a nice knee drop off the top when Axel held Jey on his knee. Rose hit three corner clotheslines. I see enough of those in a Roman Reigns match. Slater got in a cheapshot as Axel grounded Jey with a headlock. More heel control with Rose doing a headlock, but Jey broke free. Jimmy unloaded kicks for everybody, then Jey tagged in and they hit a double superkick. Jey up top and he hit the top rope splash for the win after five minuets. The crowd wasn’t into the match very much.
Winners by pinfall: The Usos
Analysis: *3/4 A basic tag match to put over The Usos over the heels that are still fairly new. The encouraging thing about the match is that the Social Outcasts weren’t hurt by the loss too bad. They got a decent amount of offense in, so it’s nice to see that WWE might be willing to feature them more. Five minutes was the right amount of time. The crowd wasn’t into it that much.
The Miz was backstage, was handed a coffee and then slammed it against some techie dude.
Miz TV With AJ Styles
The Miz was in the ring with his “set” in the ring. He talked about how everybody is talking about AJ Styles. He said that guests like AJ are why he provides a public service like Miz TV. He added that this is a forum for storytelling. Styles made his entrance.
Styles made his entrance and got the full pyro treatment. I love the theme song. I’ve heard it so many times in the last week. They showed highlights of Styles’ win over Jericho last week.
They sat in chairs in the ring. Miz talked about how Styles was the youngest of four boys in Georgia. He mentioned Styles trying out for football and not making it because he was too small. Then Miz told the story that Styles kept working at it and became the best guy on the team. It looked like Styles was about to talk, but Miz ended up taking the microphone away.
The Miz continued to speak about how Styles accomplished so much elsewhere and always wondered what it would be like to be in a WWE ring. When Miz asked if being in the Royal Rumble was a great moment in Styles' life, but then he took the microphone away from him again.
Miz said that Styles reminded him of Daniel Bryan. He said that Bryan never achieved greatness until Miz helped him. He mentioned how Bryan was viewed as an “indy darling” the way Styles was. Miz said he wants to mentor Styles in WWE. Miz was mad about the fans booing him while saying he has 10+ years in WWE, he’s won 12 championships and he main evented WrestleMania. Miz talked about how Styles was a big fish in a small pond, but this is an ocean full of sharks. It led to the fans chanting “AJ Styles” for him.
Miz called Styles a “rookie redneck” while questioning if Styles can make it in WWE without The Miz’s guidance. Miz said there’s no chance in hell. Styles attacked with a punch. He tossed Miz across the ring. Styles unloaded with some fists and then Miz ran up the ramp to get away. The crowd reacted well to Styles going after Miz.
Analysis: It would have been nice to actually hear from Styles in an in-ring promo, but they opted to go another route with The Miz talking for about ten minutes. It was fine. I'm not sure if it was done this way because the company lacks confidence in Styles as a talker at this point or if it was just a way to get him angry to beat up Miz. You can come up with your own conclusions on that one. To the people mad about Miz calling AJ Styles a "rookie" guess what? You're supposed to be mad. He's a heel. They lie. It's his job.
A replay of the Ambrose/Lesnar segment from earlier was shown.
Oh no not the Brie Mode song! She made her entrance with Alicia Fox.
Charlotte (w/Sasha Banks) vs. Brie Bella (w/Alicia Fox)
Brie got in some kicks early. Charlotte sent her to the floor. Hair whip by Charlotte. There’s a leg lock by Charlotte to weaken Brie. Charlotte missed an attack, so Brie hit two clotheslines and a bulldog for two. Brie ended up jumping on Charlotte’s back in a sleeper hold. Flair jumped on the apron. Fox told him to get down. Charlotte broke the sleeper wit ha jawbreaker type move. Charlotte went for the Figure Eight, Brie ended up turning it into a pin and won the match after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Brie Bella
Analysis: * A short match for the girls. It was pretty boring. In a match that short they should be hitting their regular spots and going at a faster pace. Why slow it down so much? It didn’t work that well. I assume Brie Bella gets added to a Fatal Fourway Divas Title match at Fastlane along with Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch. Then they can have Charlotte vs. Sasha at WrestleMania. I'm not sure how much longer Brie will work in WWE. She has talked a lot about wanting to start a family with Daniel Bryan, so maybe this will be one of her last title chances. I wouldn't miss her theme song, that's for sure.
Highlights from Smackdown were shown with Big Show coming to the aid of Reigns, Ambrose & Jericho against The Wyatt Family.
They mentioned Bret Hart’s announcement about prostate cancer while showing support from others in WWE. The wrestling community may complain about little things a lot, but we sure rally together when somebody we love is in need. I hope Bret can overcome this.
Big Show vs. Erick Rowan (w/Luke Harper & Braun Strowman)
Show was dominant early on. Harper jumped on the apron for interference, but Show knocked him down. Strowman was on the apron and Show knocked him off. Rowan attacked from behind. Show nailed a Chokeslam to win the match in about two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Big Show
Analysis: 1/4* My favorite part about that match is that it was short.
Post match, the three Wyatt Family guys beat down Big Show. Rowan nailed a spin kick and Harper nailed a running boot to the face. Strowman with a clothesline. They yanked Show out of the ring. They tossed Show into the steps at ringside. Harper stood on part of the steps and nailed a kick to the face. Strowman and Rowan combined to slam Show’s back into the steps. Harper did a yell to end the segment.
Analysis: Nobody came to Big Show’s aid probably because he’s turned heel 47 times in the past 20 years. Okay so maybe 47 is a bit high, but you get the point. It was a good beatdown although it dragged on too much. It was about five minutes, yet it felt like 15 minutes. It’s likely leading to Show vs. Strowman at Fastlane, but they kinda made Harper as the guy in control. Perhaps WWE realizes Strowman isn’t ready and are putting Harper in that spot. I’m not sure. As mentioned earlier, no Wyatt because he left before the taping to be home with his family and his ailing grandfather Blackjack Mulligan.
Titus O’Neil made his entrance as they replayed the bit on Smackdown where they brought honor roll students to the show.
Titus O’Neil vs. Tyler Breeze
O’Neil caught Breeze in his arms, hit some backbreakers and tossed Breeze to the side. O’Neil hit a corner splash. Breeze clipped the knee to knock O’Neil down. Breeze got in about one minute of offense in working on the knee. O’Neil nailed a huge clothesline and hit the Clash of the Titus for the win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Titus O’Neil
Analysis: * It was basically a squash match. Breeze deserves better, but apparently Vince McMahon isn’t a fan of the gimmick. I think WWE wants to push O’Neil yet they barely did anything with him in the Royal Rumble. I don’t understand the reasoning for that. Of course the announcers put over O’Neil huge after the win. We’ll see it if leads to anything. I have my doubts. Why not pair Breeze with Fandango? Gives them something to do. They can be a heel tag team since Fandango didn't really work out as a face anyway.
Brock Lesnar was in the locker room with Paul Heyman. Triple H showed up. He asked Paul to leave. Hunter laughed about how Ambrose got in Lesnar’s face earlier. He wondered if things are getting soft in Suplex City. Lesnar said I guess we’ll find out at WrestleMania. Hunter said he’s looking forward to it and Lesnar said “so am I I’ll see ya there.”
Analysis: It’s good to tease the possibility of Lesnar vs. Triple H for the WWE Title. I think they’ll go with Wyatt against Lesnar as has been rumored because they want it to be Reigns vs. Triple H for the WWE Title most likely at WM. Nothing wrong with getting people to believe this might happen, though.
This week on Smackdown it’s AJ Styles vs. The Miz.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens
These two have had some great matches. It’s starting before the top of hour three, so hopefully they get time to have another awesome match. Ziggler nailed a dropkick that sent Owens to the floor. Then Owens picked him up by the timekeeper area and tossed him over the barricade. Ziggler landed hard, so time for a break one minute into the match.
Owens was in control after the break. He whipped Ziggler hard into the turnbuckle, which led to Ziggler taking the bump sternum first - that's a nice Bret Hart tribute. Owens nailed the cannonball against the turnbuckle as well. Owens continued to stomp him down and he trash talked him a lot. Huge forearm smash to the face by Owens. Clothesline by Owens. He told Cole this is for him and missed a running senton as Ziggler moved. Ziggler hit three corner splashes, but then Owens crushed him with a clothesline. Ziggler nailed a huge superkick while Owens was on the apron. Ziggler hit the Fameasser on the floor to Owens. Back in the ring, it earned a two count for Ziggler. Owens held onto the ropes to avoid the Zig Zag and then Owens connected with a superkick for two. Owens went to the top rope, Ziggler met him up there to block it, but then Owens tripped him up on the ropes. Owens hit a cannonball in the corner while Ziggler was upside down. Ziggler avoided the Popup Powerbomb and connected with the Zig Zag for the win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler
Post match, Ziggler celebrated the win with the crowd while Owens was furious at ringside.
Analysis: *** A very good TV match by two of my favorites. I’m a little surprised by the result just because of the way Ziggler has been booked inconsistently for so long. We always want to see him get a push and win matches like that, but he’s not used that well. I was actually surprised Owens didn’t kick out of the Zig Zag. Owens is the kind of heel that can lose every match yet he still carries himself like a star. I’m not really worried about his future. With that said, I figured Owens would win this match. I’m interested in seeing what the future is for both of them. Maybe they do a PPV match, Owens beats him there and then they can do Owens vs. AJ Styles at WrestleMania.
A video package aired for Black History Month honoring Mark Henry’s 20-year career in WWE. It featured other people in the company saying nice things about him, including The Rock.
Analysis: Henry’s probably retiring this year. At least he’s hinted at it.
Sasha Banks entered the ring and said that she is back. She said no more sitting in the back and watching other divas getting an opportunity. She announced that she is on her own – nobody is going to stop her from becoming Divas Champion. She talked about how Becky wants her rematch and Brie beat Charlotte, but none of them can hold a candle to her because she’s The Boss…legit.
Naomi and Tamina interrupted the promo. Naomi said that this is a proud moment for them seeing Sasha branch out on her own. Naomi and Tamina showed up to say they want to prove that they are the best. Naomi noted that she understood that partnerships don’t last together. Tamina said they wanted to congratulate her. Naomi mentioned Wiz Khalifa and Kanye West having some beef that I’m not really aware of. Banks wondered if Naomi and Tamina would support her in this match against Becky Lynch. They did their “unity” handshake.
Analysis: Last week on Smackdown they taped a segment where Sasha dumped the other two. They didn’t air it on the broadcast. If it didn't air then just act as if it never happened.
Becky Lynch entered for the match.
Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks (w/Naomi & Tamina)
There was a slow pace to it early, but then Banks took control. She did the double knee attack to the ribs of Lynch. Banks did an athletic hip toss. Lynch was on the apron and Banks kicked her out of the ring. Tamina held Lynch, so Banks got in the way to say she didn’t need Tamina and Naomi. After Banks tossed Lynch into the ring, she received shoves from her pals. Tamina and Naomi yanked Banks out of the ring, so the ref called for the bell. It went four minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Sasha Banks
Post match, Lynch saw that the heels were double teaming Banks. Lynch went outside the ring and attacked Naomi. Lynch and Banks won this fight as Naomi and Tamina went up the ramp.
Analysis: *1/4 It wasn’t that much of a match. It was about furthering the split of Banks from her friends. Banks is becoming a babyface while her friends remain heels. It’s a natural progression of the storyline. If you're a fan of Banks like I am, consider this a very good thing because now she's truly on her own and in a position that will allow her to be a star.
The announcers talked about the Legends with JBL show on WWE Network that airs after Raw. The guest is Ron Simmons, who JBL introduced as his best friend and former tag team partner. They showed clips of Simmons opening up about different topics.
Analysis: I like those shows and will definitely watch it later in the week.
Chris Jericho was interviewed by Renee Young backstage. He’s wearing a scarf this week. He spoke about how he’s been thinking about AJ Styles since his match on Raw last week. He said everything about the match was tremendous – except the outcome. He said what it proved to him is Styles is here for the long haul and he proved it earlier when he beat the hell out of Miz on Miz TV earlier. He liked that Styles was a fighter because he (Jericho) is a fighter too. He’s very curious as to what’s going to happen between Styles and Miz on Smackdown.
Analysis: That’s a nice tease for a heel turn by Jericho, which is welcome by me. He’s better as a heel. If he doesn’t turn heel, it appears as though he’ll have a feud with Styles. They’ll probably have another match at Fastlane. I’m cool with that. Styles will probably win that match too and do it in a more decisive way with a Styles Clash ending.
R-Truth was in the bathroom. He opened a stall and saw Goldust standing on the toilet. Poor Goldust’s foot fell in the toilet. He asked Truth if he could be his tag team partner – The Golden Truth. Truth said he didn’t want to tag with him, when Goldust asked why, Truth said he’s a weirdo and had poop on his foot. Goldust reminded Truth that his last partner was Lil’ Jimmy, who was imaginary. Truth left unhappy.
Analysis: The Golden Truth team is still not together I guess. Like I said last week, it’s a good thing to pair them up since they are veterans in their 40s that have nothing else going on anyway.
The New Day entered for the main event against Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. Big E said “Bootyham” during the entrance. They didn’t do mic work. It was just the entrance.
This week on Smackdown it’s Roman Reigns vs. Rusev. Not a new match. The first four weeks of Smackdown haven’t had a clean finish in the main event. Maybe there will be with that match. Also Styles vs. Miz.
Paul Heyman was on commentary for the main event.
The New Day did their pre-match promo with Xavier Woods complaining about The Rock’s inappropriate remarks last week. Kingston said last week they shamed The Rock and this week they will do it again. They yelled “shame” repeatedly. Big E talked about how this was family program as he asked Rock to think about the children and the babies. They pointed out a kid in the crowd that was wearing a “Bullet Club” shirt. The kid was dancing. New Day said they’ll still fight him, but it would be out of love. They talked about how they would beat The Rock’s cousin Roman Reigns. Then they talked about beating Reigns and Ambrose because…New Day rocks.
Analysis: Good promo like usual from them. They never disappoint. It was funny seeing that kid dancing at ringside and he happened to be wearing a Bullet Club shirt with his dad, who was also wearing the shirt. When the Bullet Club team of Gallows/Anderson arrives in WWE in a few months, they won't be able to use that name with Finn Balor because New Japan owns the rights to it. It looks like Balor Club will be the name if they go with the group. Until it's official, though, we just don't know.
Roman Reigns made his entrance and then Dean Ambrose entered with the IC Title.
Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. The New Day’s Big E & Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods)
The tag titles are not on the line. Heyman said that he wasn’t discrediting the abilities of Reigns or Ambrose - he just thinks they are no match for Lesnar. Reigns nailed Kingston with a huge uppercut to give his team the advantage early on. Ambrose with a back suplex on Kingston followed by a clothesline on a seated Kingston. Kingston and Ambrose exchanged some chops in the corner. Reigns with an elbow drop for two. Reigns with a huge boot to the face of Kingston. He should do that move more and less clotheslines. He does too many clotheslines. New Day yanked Kingston out of the ring as the show went to break.
Analysis: This is off topic a bit, but might as well share this for those unaware. You know how Ambrose has the nickname of Titty Master? He got it because he wrote "Titty Master" on his wrist tape in his Shield days in a tag match that also involved Big E because that's the joke name that guys on the roster gave Big E. Since Big E has big pecs, I guess you could say the name fits. People thought that Ambrose was calling himself that. Apparently not. If you didn't know...now you know.
Back from break, New Day isolated Reigns. They showed a clip of Big E driving Reigns back first into the barricade. Dropkick by Kingston to Reigns. Big E missed his splash on the apron as Reigns moved. That’s a painful looking bump for Big E. Ambrose tagged in with a forearm smash to Big E and a bulldog. Ambrose tossed Kingston out of the ring and sent him into the barricade. Ambrose ducked a charge that sent Big E to the floor. Ambrose hit a suicide dive that sent Big E back first into the announce table. Kingston distracted the ref, so Woods nailed a dropkick to take out Ambrose outside the ring. Kingston with a kick to the back of Ambrose. Time for the stampede kicks in the corner including Woods playing the trombone. Kingston with a boot to the chest. They continued to work on Ambrose with Big E nailing a shoulder tackle to the gut. Big E did a rhythmic abdominal stretch where he smacked Ambrose’s butt. Kingston with a body slam. He took his time getting to the top, so Ambrose countered with a punch to the gut. Tag to Big E, but Ambrose meets him with a suplex.
Hot tag by Reigns against Kingston. Reigns with three clotheslines on Kingston, then a tilt-a-whirl slam, many clotheslines in the corner and an uppercut punch. A distraction by the heels led to a kick to the face by Kingston. Big E tagged in and ran right into a Samoan Drop by Reigns. Ambrose tagged in and hit a flying elbow on a standing Big E for two as Kingston made the save. Woods went after Big E, but he was met by a rebound clothesline. Kingston dropkick took out Ambrose on the floor. Reigns nailed a huge clothesline on Kingston. Big E belly to belly suplex on Reigns on the announce table. Back in the ring, Big E clothesline on Ambrose. Ambrose fought out of the Big Ending, Reigns hit a Superman Punch on Kingston and Ambrose nailed Dirty Deeds on Big E for the win after 17 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns
Analysis: ***1/4 A very good tag match that was given a lot of time and put over the faces. No surprise by that result since Ambrose/Reigns are in the WWE Title match at Fastlane. It sucks that the tag champs lost a non-title match, but I didn’t expect them to win as soon as it was announced. The main story of building Reigns/Ambrose as top faces is more important in the bigger picture. They teased no dissention either. The crowd really got into all the spots towards the end. The guys know how to set up the finish well. It was an enjoyable match although again it was as predictable as any Raw main event is going to be.
Post match, Brock Lesnar’s music hit as the man known as The Beast went down to the ring. The New Day attacked Reigns and Ambrose from behind. Ambrose nailed a clothesline on Woods and Reigns punched Kingston, which led to those two going to the floor. Lesnar went into the ring, picked up Ambrose and hit the F5. The actual shot of Lesnar going into the ring wasn't even shown because the camera was on Reigns. Reigns never got up. Lesnar’s music played as he left with Heyman while the others were down around the ring. Raw ended at around 11:09pmET.
Analysis: It was an okay ending, but also left me wanting more. My reaction was a “that’s it?” because I was wondering why Reigns was just down like that without getting back to his feet. They should have done something where Reigns gets back in the ring, checks on Ambrose and by that point Lesnar was up the ramp. That way it makes Lesnar look like a crafty veteran who picked his spot while the other two guys have things to learn.
They could have had a hotter ending if they brawled or did something more physical. What they did was pretty basic. It’s fine, but again it could have been more memorable if they did something else.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Dean Ambrose
2. Dolph Ziggler
3. Kevin Owens
5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2016 Average: 5.5
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 4.5, 5.5, 6, 4
I’m giving it a 5 out of 10.
- An average show. It tired me out just writing about this one. There were two really good TV matches counting Owens/Ziggler and the main event. Everything else was pretty forgettable.
- There were three non-title matches. The Divas Champ and Tag Team Champions lost. Typical WWE booking. At least Kalisto won by countout.
- In terms of talking segments, I thought Ambrose stood out in the opening with Heyman, who of course was great. It was nice to have a show without a heavy dose of the McMahon family.
- Congrats to the Usos on being Grammy winners. Way to go, Lilian.
That’s it for this week. Check out the Smackdown review this week on TJRWrestling.net also.
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