Air Date: 18/1/16
RAW opens with Roman Reigns calling out Brock Lesnar, but outcomes Chris Jericho instead. He wants Roman on the Highlight Reel with Brock tonight, the League of Nations come out and are upset that they aren’t considered top contenders to win the Royal Rumble. This was a pretty boring segment overall that led to Reigns/Rusev with Jericho as the guest referee.
Roman Reigns vs. Rusev (w/Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barrett, and Sheamus) (w/Special Guest Referee Chris Jericho)
These two had a pretty awesome TV match, with Jericho clearly favouring Reigns. The League of Nations start to get involved which leads to Jericho throwing them out one by one in some of the most entertaining ways possible. Seriously, he was doing cartwheels and hulking up and stuff and the crowd was loving it. His antics were so great it added an extra half star to the match for me. Reigns pinned Rusev with a spear ***
Backstage Stephanie McMahon is telling off Chris Jericho for changing the Highlight Reel and making a match. Stephanie is normally really great but this came across as really awkward.
Brie Bella (w/Alicia Fox) vs. Natalya (w/Paige)
I guess Paige is a face now, which is weird but at this point I feel like turning on her friends every week is part of her character. This was a nothing match just to promote the return of Total Divas. Natalya makes Brie tap with the sharpshooter *
The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erik Rowan w/Braun Strowman) vs. The Dudley Boyz and Ryback
This match was set up after the fun Dudleyz/Wyatt tables match from Smackdown. This was a fine back and forth match, but the crowd was completely dead for most of it which killed it for me. Luke Harper pins Bubba after a Superkick and Discus Clothesline **
Post-match Bray rambles for a bit without a mic about how the apocalypse is coming.
Big Show vs. Heath Slater (w/Adam Rose, Bo Dallas, and Curtis Axel)
God, it feels like the Social Outcasts are on every WWE show I watch. They cut a promo before the match talking about how they are going to win the Rumble, not some of their best work if I am honest. Heath basically runs from Show and then gets hit with a Knockout Punch and loses. Big Show pins Heath Slater with a Knockout Punch. *
After the match Big Show kills the rest of the Outcasts.
Backstage Stephanie meets with the League of Nations and talks about how they should be able to win the Rumble and to prove they aren’t scared of Chris Jericho. Fine segment.
Next we get an awful segment with Vince and Stephanie pulling names out of a tumbler to pick the number one entrant to the Royal Rumble. The idea was that every pod contained the name Roman Reigns, but Vince couldn’t open the pods. The segment went on for ages and you could tell Vince and Stephanie knew it was a train wreck but for some reason it just kept going. Horrible stuff.
Tamina (w/Naomi) vs. Becky Lynch
Charlotte and Ric Flair were at ringside for this. Another fine TV match, I become more and more of a Becky fan every time I see her. She keeps finding really cool looking ways to get her opponents into the Dis-Arm-Her, like in this match where she rolled through from the top rope. Tamina was fine her, she played her part and didn’t look as bad as she normally does. Tamina taps out to the Dis-Arm-Her ** ½
Post-match Becky again asks Charlotte for a title match this Sunday. Becky was again great here, making fun of Ric Flair and calling him a coward. Flair accepted the challenge to the shock of Charlotte, who did a great job at playing off her shock as confidence. Awesome stuff, I am a lot more into this feud than I thought I was.
Dean Ambrose and Kalisto vs. The League of Nations (Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio w/Wade Barrett)
Kevin Owens was on commentary for this match and was pretty good, which should be no surprise. This was a decent match with Ambrose playing the face in peril for much of the match and Kalisto getting the hot tag. Del Rio hit a great looking enzuigiri on Dean Ambrose of the announce table on the outside which was probably the highlight of this. Sheamus wins for his team with a Brogue Kick on Kalisto ** ½
We get a recap of the opening segment, I didn’t notice until this segment that Jericho’s mic was upside down.
New Day are having a funeral for Xavier’s trombone Francesca. I haven’t been into New Day for the last few weeks but this was really good.
Jey Uso (w/Jimmy Uso) vs. Big E (w/Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods)
Very fun match here with Jey having control for much of the match after dodging an apron splash. The finish came of a distraction from the New Day. Kofi and Woods were awesome at ringside. Big E wins with the Big Ending ** ¼
Titus, R-Truth, and Mark Henry are backstage talking about having dreams to win the rumble, icky segment to have on Martin Luther King Day.
Titus O’Neil, R-Truth, Mark Henry, and Neville vs. The Cosmic Wasteland (Stardust and The Ascension) and Tyler Breeze
Super boring 8-man tag match. The crowd has been bad all night but they were completely silent for this. Neville pins Tyler Breeze with the Red Arrow *
It’s time for the Highlight Reel, Paul Heyman comes out and wants to talk to Roman Reigns. He and Jericho have a back and forth about why Brock is in the Rumble and if Paul thinks Brock can actually win it. A lot of boring talk and then out comes Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, Reigns goes after Brock. This was supposed to feel like a big moment but the crowd didn’t care at all. The League of Nations come out and Brock murders all four of them. The Wyatt Family come out and take out Reigns and then go after Brock. Lesnar having to sell for Erik Rowan and Braun Strowman is hilarious. I would be much more into this Wyatt push if anything he and the Family had done in the last year or two had been entertaining. Bray is a great talker and Harper can be a lot of fun in the ring but most of their feuds have been boring and one sided. If Bray/Brock is the direction they are heading for Wrestlemania, and god I hope it isn’t, they are going to have to do a hell of a lot of work rehabbing that whole act. Losing feuds is fine since he’s a heel, but I haven’t really liked a Wyatt Family angle in a very long time.
RAW is normally pretty bad but this was a really bad show overall. Everything other than the opening match and the Highlight Reel segment was either really bad or just really boring. The shitty crowd didn’t help much, but I can’t blame them because they had nothing worth cheering or booing for.