Air Date: 1/2/16
The show opens with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman making their way down to the ring. Heyman says Brock is still pissed at The Wyatt Family for what they did at the Royal Rumble and will exact is revenge later. First they are more interested in the triple threat number one contender match at Fastlane, Heyman cuts a pretty good promo on Ambrose and Reigns, focusing mostly on Ambrose which causes him to come out. Ambrose gets in Brock’s face and tells Brock that he is crazy enough to take a beating from him to get the title. This was your standard RAW opening segment to be honest, nothing bad but totally skippable.
Kalisto vs. Rusev (w/Lana)
Alberto Del Rio is on commentary for this match as it is announced that he will get a title match with Kalisto at Fastlane. Kalisto has been having a very good year so far in this little feud with Del Rio, he’s a great underdog babyface. This was another match in that formula, with Rusev working more as a monster than the bully role Del Rio filled. These two men had a solid enough match, with a very exciting last few minutes, I might have preferred Kalisto getting a clean win than winning by count out, but Rusev is someone that is generally protected so I understand. Kalisto wins by count-out ***
Stephanie McMahon meets in her office with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. The three banter back and forth, as Stephanie tries to cause dissention between Reigns and Ambrose. She ends up making a tag match with Reigns and Ambrose against The New Day for the main event tonight.
Renee Young is backstage with Brie Bella, talking about Nikki’s recent neck surgery. She is interrupted by Charlotte, who takes credit for causing Nikki’s injury and rubs it in Brie’s face.
The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) vs. Social Outcasts (Curtis Axel and Adam Rose w/Heath Slater)
Lillian accidently calls The Usos Grammy award winners instead of Slammy award winners and JBL spends a lot of time on commentary shouting about it. We get some Social Outcast comedy before the match, I don’t know what it is but these guys are funnier on C-Shows. This was a total nothing, filler tag match as you’d expect. Jey Uso pins Adam Rose with a Superfly Splash **
The Miz is out next for MizTV with AJ Styles. Miz talks about AJ always being told he’s too small and still giving it his all, and just generally cutting AJ’s promo for him. AJ isn’t even holding a microphone, and that becomes the running joke of the segment. Miz offers to help like he did Daniel Bryan, and when he refuses the two brawl. Honestly this was a pretty dumb way to try and get AJ over, he’s not a bad promo so I don’t understand why they didn’t just let him talk a little. Weird.
Brie Bella (w/Alicia Fox) vs. Charlotte (w/Ric Flair)
God bless these girls because they were clearly trying, but this was not a good match. They tried some stuff that didn’t really get over and Brie reversed a figure four attempt into a roll up, I am dreading watching this feud. Brie pins Charlotte with a roll up * ¼
We get a recap of Big Show saving Roman Reigns from The Wyatt Family on Smackdown, leading to the next match and god help me.
Big Show vs. Erick Rowan (w/Luke Harper and Braun Strowman)
Ugh. At least it was short. Big Show pins Rowan DUD
Strowman and Harper attack Big Show after the match, and Rowan eventually joins in. This went on way too long. Just boring.
Titus O’Neil vs. Tyler Breeze
We really are in that part of RAW eh? There was a spark of brilliance from Titus in this match when he just killed Breeze with a stiff as fuck clothesline and if he can tap into that he could be awesome, but this was just straight up bad otherwise. Titus pins Tyler with Clash of the Titus *
Triple H is backstage with Brock, he tells Brock that he thinks he is getting soft for not killing Ambrose earlier. Very short segment, but vaguely interesting.
AJ Styles vs. The Miz is set up for Smackdown.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens
This was pretty good little TV match built around Dolph trying to hit the superkick on Owens, which makes Dolph winning with his standard finisher a little strange. Both these men had a lot of intensity, more than you would expect from a random TV match with no build, and Ziggler took a few surprising bumps in the corner and on the outside. Perhaps the best match on the show so far. Ziggler pins Owens with the Zig-Zag ***
We get a Black History Month promo for Mark Henry, which was about as good as you’d expect.
Sasha Banks comes out and cuts a promo about how she isn’t going to sit back and let other Divas take her opportunities. She talks about no longer being a part of Team BAD, which brings out Naomi and Tamina. They tell Sasha that she has their blessing and will always have her back. This was a really awkward segment straight out of a daytime soap opera and the turn is so obviously coming from Team BAD.
Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks (w/Tamina and Naomi)
No surprise, these two women had a solid but basic match which ended after Team BAD attack Sasha. Tamina and Noami try to beat on Becky, but Sasha tells them to stop which leads to them attacking Sasha. Becky helps Sasha and the faces clear the ring to NXT chants. No Contest NR
We get a recap of AJ Styles/Chris Jericho from last week and then a backstage interview with Chris. Jericho says he is going to take a keen interest in AJ’s future and will be watching his match with Miz closely, so I guess this is a feud that will continue. I guess it’s a good way to get AJ acclimatised to the WWE crowd.
After that we get another pretty funny vignette of Goldust trying to convince R-Truth to tag with him. Goldy talks about how Truth used to tag with Lil Jimmy, who is imaginary, which pisses Truth off.
New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E w/Xavier Woods) vs. Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose
New Day cut a prom on Rock before the match, and how they are going to beat up Rock’s cousin and his friend. Funny stuff as usual. Paul Heyman is also on commentary for this. This was a fairly basic TV main event, with New Day working over Ambrose for most of the match. We got some fun moments, including a great hot tag from Reigns and a Big E throwing Reigns around like the hoss that he is. I am not a huge fan of having your tag team champions losing clean, but that is pretty standard booking for this company. Dean Ambrose pins Big E with the Dirty Deeds ***
After the match Brock comes out, only for New Day to jump Reigns and Ambrose from behind. Lesnar hits Ambrose with an F5 to end the show.
Not the best episode of RAW, but we got two or three decent matches and the build for the Fastlane main event is coming along nicely. I hope they start filling out the rest of the card soon.