It’s February already! We are two months away from Wrestlemania 32 and I’ve decided I want to go as I want to see AJ Styles live. I want to see Nakamura vs. Zayn at Takeover: Dallas. I want to see Kevin Owens’ first WrestleMania appearance. There are a bunch of cool things to get excited about even if the likely main event of Triple H vs. Roman Reigns isn’t one of them. The match could surprise us all though. You never know, and that’s what makes wrestling so great. Let’s get this show on the road!
Tonight we are live in Birmingham, Alabama and we start things off with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Big “Suplex City” chants for Brock. Again, I really can’t do Paul Heyman justice so I recommend checking this out for yourself. I’ll do my best, though. Heyman talks about how the Wyatts’ conspiracy to remove Brock from the title picture at the Royal Rumble failed. When the time comes, he will have his revenge on the Wyatts. He said Stephanie did what was “Beast for Business” last week by putting Brock in the Fastlane match to decide who faces Triple H at WrestleMania. At Fastlane Brock will imprison both Ambrose and Reigns into Suplex City. He will stack one on top of the other and pin both at the same time. Triple H is a “Billion Dollar Trophy Husband.” That was awesome. Heyman is running down Ambrose, calling him a nutjob when Ambrose comes down to the ring.
Big cheers for Dean as he shows no fear stepping right into Brock’s face. He responds to Heyman’s nutjob comments by calling Heyman “Porky.” He says he isn’t crazy, he isn’t stupid. He respects Lesnar. But he wants the Title. He wants it so bad he’s going to fight his own brother for it and he’s going to fight Lesnar. He doesn’t want to fight Lesnar. He knows he is going to get a beating from both Lesnar and Reigns. He hopes Brock is prepared to give him the worst beating he has ever given because he is the Iron Man of the WWE. He says he wanted to tell Brock all this “out of respect.” He then leaves the ring. That was pretty great.
Kalisto vs. Rusev
Alberto Del Rio is at ringside on commentary. He will get his rematch against Kalisto for the U.S. Title at Fastlane. Rusev powers Kalisto into the corner out of the lockup and allows for a break. He does it a second time and this time goes for a punch but Kalisto hits a series of quick kicks. Rusev tries to turn a Kalisto hurricanrana into a powerbomb but Kalisto slides out of it. Rusev regains control with a series of stomps and kicks. He goes for another powerbomb but Kalisto sends him over the top rope with a headscissors. Kalisto goes for a plancha but Rusev responds with a big kick to the head as we go to break.
When we come back from the break Rusev is firmly in control in the ring. He hits a slam and gets a two count. Kalisto catches Rusev with a boot to the face in the corner and hits a tornado DDT to stun Rusev. He hits an enziguri off the ropes followed by a seated senton. He then hits a slingshot corkscrew off the ropes and goes for a splash but Rusev catches Kalisto and plants him to the mat with a huge slam. He gets a near fall. Rusev goes for a tackle into the corner but Kalisto dodges it and rolls up Rusev for a near fall of his own. Kalisto then hits a headscissors and plants Rusev into the mat, getting another two count.
Rusev rolls out of the ring and Kalisto goes for a plancha off the top turnbuckle. Rusev catches him and goes for a fallaway slam but Kalisto reverses and Rusev goes into the steps. Both men recover on the outside as the ref starts counting. Rusev tosses Kalisto onto the announce table but Kalisto lands on his feet and hits a headscissors. He then hits a hurricanrana off the apron and Rusev goes into the barricade. Kalisto gets back in the ring as the ref counts to ten and Rusev is counted out. Kalisto gets away as Rusev and ADR try to attack him in the ring. This was an exciting, fast paced match.
Backstage, Ambrose and Reigns are looking at the WWE Title and Stephanie comes in and talks some trash to Dean. She says Roman knows what it’s like to be so close to the title and compete for it at WrestleMania. She brings up all the partners who were betrayed, first mentioning Marty Janetty and then Seth Rollins betraying Reigns and Ambrose. She says she will test their partnership by having Reigns and Ambrose team up against The New Day tonight.
Rene interviews Brie Bella backstage, asking about Nikki’s recovery from neck surgery. Brie says Nikki is hopeful she will return to the ring but it will be a long recovery. Charlotte interrupts and says to pass her sympathies to Nikki. She wonders if she was responsible for Nikki’s injuries as Charlotte beat Nikki for the Divas championship and beat her again at Hell in A Cell. Pretty good heel work from Charlotte.
The Usos vs. Curtis Axel and Adam Rose
We got a pretty good Lillian botch as she called The Usos “Grammy award winning” instead of Slammy award winning. They replayed this after the commercial and the commentary team made some cracks about it. The Social Outcasts explain Bo’s absence by saying Bo Rida is working on some new tracks in the studio. In actuality, Bo and his real life brother Bray Wyatt had to leave RAW to be with their ailing grandfather, Blackjack Mulligan, who was hospitalized Monday Night. Best wishes to Mulligan and the rest of the family.
Axel starts off against Jay. Heath distracts Jay at the bell, allowing Axel to take control with a series of stomps in the corner. He tags in Adam Rose, who hits a combo backbreaker off the top rope. The Social Outcasts remain firmly in control, using quick tags, double teams, and distractions on the outside to maintain the advantage. Axel tags in and wears down Jay with a headlock, maintaining control despite Jay’s attempts to power out. Just as it appears Jay will get out of it, Axel whips him into the ropes and nails a dropkick. He tags in Adam Rose, who gets Jay in a sleeper hold. Jay does power out of this, hits an enziguri on Rose, and manages to get the hot tag to Jimmy. Jimmy clears the ring with a series of superkicks. He tags back in Jay as they hit a double superkick on Rose and then Jay hits the top rope splash to get the pinfall win. I enjoyed this match for the most part but the Uso comeback was pretty by the books. This definitely didn’t do much to establish The Social Outcasts as serious competitors as they were basically all taken down by Jimmy Uso.
MizTV with AJ Styles
The Miz starts off by praising AJ’s Royal Rumble debut. He says that AJ’s story is phenomenal and introduces AJ, who comes out to a big pop. We are shown highlights from AJ’s great RAW debut match against Chris Jericho as AJ makes his way into the ring. Miz starts off by saying that the WWE Universe wants to know who AJ Styles is. AJ tries to respond but The Miz proceeds to tell AJ’s story of overcoming the odds to become a star football player in high school. He then talks about AJ’s career in wrestling, traveling all over the globe and performing in smaller organizations. He says that AJ spent those years wondering what it would be like to be in the WWE and finally he made it into the Royal Rumble. He says doubts still linger for AJ despite his achievements. He then asks AJ where does he go from here but interrupts AJ before he can answer.
The Miz says AJ reminds him of his former protege, Daniel Bryan. He says Bryan didn’t do anything of merit until The Miz took him under his wing. He tries to get a Yes chant going and the crowd responds with No’s. He offers to be AJ’s mentor. The crowd starts booing and this sets off the Miz, who reminds us of all his achievements and asks who the hell AJ is anyway. AJ may have been a big fish in a small pond, but this is an ocean full of sharks and AJ will drown if he listens to the WWE Universe. The crowd is now chanting for AJ. The Miz says there is no chance in hell AJ can make it in the WWE without him. AJ finally attacks The Miz, slamming him in to a chair and punching him in the corner. Miz takes off and runs backstage as AJ yells “Do you know me know? I’m AJ Styles!” Great way to spotlight AJ and the crowd ate it up.
Brie Bella vs. Charlotte
Brie is accompanied by Alicia Fox and Charlotte is accompanied by her dad. Charlotte starts off by taunting Brie by doing some push ups in the ring. Brie goes after Charlotte and hits some punches followed by some stiff kicks and a dropkick. She goes for a running attack but Charlotte dodges it and sends Brie flying through the ropes. She attacks Brie on the outside and tosses her back in. She then slams her face into the mat twice and goes for a pin, getting a two count. Charlotte follows this up with a couple knees to the midsection and slams Brie back to the mat. She gets Brie in a leglock to the head and slams her to the mat. Brie bridges out and turns it into a pin attempt, getting a two count of her own. She hits Charlotte with a running bulldog and gets another two count. Charlotte looks for a backslide but Brie counters with a backslide of her own, getting another near fall. Brie goes to the top rope but Charlotte catches her on the ropes. Brie then counters with a sleeper. Ric Flair hops up on the apron. He and Alicia Fox get into it a bit and Ric keeps up his antics on the apron. Charlotte gets out of the sleeper with a backdrop slam on Brie and goes for the Figure Eight. Brie manages to reverse it into a rollup and surprises Charlotte with a three count. Brie celebrates her victory over the Divas Champion as Charlotte looks on in stunned silence. Brie looked really good here but I’m not sure what this means for the title picture as you already have Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks vying for the belt. I guess more viable contenders is never a bad thing and I don’t see any problem with making Charlotte look vulnerable.
The Big Show vs. Erick Rowan
As I mentioned previously, Bray isn’t here as he had to leave to be with his grandfather. Rowan comes to the ring with Harper and Strowman. Harper and Strowman surround Big Show on the outside before the match starts and Show fends them off by grabbing the ring steps. He starts off against Harper with some punches and goes after Rowan in the corner. Rowan goes for a slam but Show counters with a suplex. Strowman and Harper both try to distract Show but he knocks them off the apron. Rowan goes for a running attack from behind but Show counters with a chokeslam and gets the three count. That was a nothing match but its main purpose was to set up the beat down of Big Show in the ring after the match. The Wyatts roll Show outside the ring and whip him into the steps. Harper gets up on the steps and kicks Show in the face. Strowman and Rowan then slam Big Show onto the steps to finish things off.
Titus O’Neil vs. Tyler Breeze
It’s good to see Breeze on RAW as we haven’t seen much of him lately. O’Neil starts things off by countering a Breeze headlock with a slam. Breeze goes for a top rope attack and Titus catches him and nails Breeze with a backbreaker. Breeze makes a comeback by countering a Titus corner attack and nailing Titus with a series of kicks. He then gets Titus in a half crab but Titus gets to the ropes. Breeze tries to drag Titus to the corner but Titus throws him across the ring with one arm. He then nails Breeze with a huge clothesline and follows it up with Clash of the Titus to get the win. That was very disappointing. Maybe the rumors of Breeze being in the doghouse with Vince are true. Titus appears to have tweaked his knee though as he removes his knee pad and limps out of the ring.
Backstage Triple H confronts Brock Lesnar and asks if Lesnar is going soft as he let Dean walk out of the ring earlier. Brock says they will find out at WrestleMania and he will see Triple H there.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens
Hopefully this will be great and bring things up after the last two not so great matches. Owens starts off in control, tossing Ziggler to the outside and talking trash. Ziggler hits a dropkick and Owens rolls out of the ring. Ziggler goes for a running attack on the outside but Owens counters and throws him into the timekeeper’s area as we go to break. When we come back Owens has Dolph back in the ring in a headlock. Dolph attempts to power out but Owens whips him into the turnbuckle and he hits it hard. Owens follows up with his cannonball splash. He then nails a downed Ziggler with some kicks. Ziggler fights back with some punches and a headbutt but Owens nails a big boot and gets a two count on Ziggler. Owens continues to taunt Dolph as he nails him with some stomps. He punches Ziggler in the head as he continues to taunt him. He then nails a short clothesline and goes for a senton but Ziggler rolls out of the way.
Owens goes for a tackle in the corner but Ziggler gets out of the way and Owens eats the ringpost. Ziggler nails a series of splashes but Owens powers out with a big slam. He whips Ziggler in the ropes, going for the Pop Up Powerbomb but Ziggler hangs on to the ropes and nails Owens with a superkick. Owens goes to the outside and Ziggler hits the fameasser on the floor. He rolls Owens back in and goes for the pin but only gets a two count. Ziggler goes for the Zig Zag but Owens counters with a backdrop slam and gets a near fall. Owens catches Ziggler in the corner and hits another cannonball splash. He then goes for the Pop Up Powerbomb but Dolph counters with the Zig Zag and gets the three count for the win. This was a great back and forth match. Ziggler took some crazy bumps and both of these guys looked great.
Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
Sasha starts off with an in-ring promo to tell us she’s back and that this time it is on her terms. She is on her own now and nothing with stop her from becoming Divas Champion. Sasha says Becky and Brie can’t hold a candle to her. Naomi and Tamina interrupt. They say this is a proud moment as Sasha is out on her own. Sasha says Team BAD will always be her family but she needs to do this on her own. Naomi says she understands, that she knew this would happen as all partnerships must end at some point. Naomi says they can be competitors and still be sisters. Naomi says they have Sasha’s back. Sasha says she still wants the three of them to have unity and they do their unity handshake thing as Becky comes to the ring.
Sasha and Becky lock up and Sasha slams Becky to the mat, taunting Becky. Becky hits a takedown on Sasha but Sasha counters with a rollover and get get a one count. Becky counters with a pin attempt of her own, getting a one count as well. The two hit the ropes and Becky hits an armdrag on Sasha. Sasha then gets Becky in the corner and hits Becky with a double knee drop. Sasha hits a running armdrag out of the corner and then kicks Becky off the apron and to the floor. Naomi and Tamina grab Becky but Sasha tells them to leave Becky alone as she says she has this. Naomi and Tamina seem to oblige but then drag Sasha out of the ring and attack her on the floor, causing the ref to ring the bell. Becky comes to Sasha’s aid as they take out Naomi and Tamina together. So now Team BAD has imploded. Hopefully this will be the end of the silly faction wars that stifled what could have been a great Divas Revolution and we will get some real feuds and matches.
Rene Young interviews Chris Jericho backstage, bringing up Jericho’s loss to AJ Styles on last week’s RAW. Jericho says everyone is talking about Styles but he isn’t talking about him, he’s thinking about him constantly. He says anything can happen in the WWE and that it happened last week. He puts over AJ, saying AJ is there for the long haul and he is the real deal. He says he is going to be paying close attention to what happens in AJ’s match with The Miz on Smackdown.
R-Truth is in the bathroom and finds Goldust standing on a toilet. Goldust asks him to be his tag team partner and that Golden Truth is a hot idea. R-Truth says he’s flattered but he doesn’t want to tag with him. Goldust asks why and Truth says Goldust is a weirdo. He then makes fun of the fact that Goldust just stepped in a toilet. Goldust makes fun of the fact that Truth’s last partner was the imaginary Little Jimmy. R-Truth says that cuts deep and leaves.
The New Day vs. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns
Big E starts off by calling Birmingham “Booty-ham” in their intro. Paul Heyman is at ringside on commentary. Xavier gets on the mic and says they are sick and tired of hearing about Bootygate, which they use to refer to The Rock’s comments about them on RAW last week. They say The Rock has a problem with foul language and that this is family programming. They implore Rock to think of the children. They cut to a kid wearing a Bullet Club shirt. They say tonight is about revenge and tonight they will beat up The Rock’s cousin and his friend, referring to them as “Ambreigns.” Great stuff from The New Day, as always.
Kofi and Big E will be competing for The New Day and it’s Reigns and Kofi to start things off. Kofi starts off with a series of headlocks and hammerlocks and taunts Reigns. They go for a test of strength and Kofi kicks out of it and gets Reigns in a headlock. Roman powers out and then knocks Kofi down with a right hand. Ambrose tags in and punches Kofi in the corner. He follows up with a side suplex and then nails a downed Kofi with a running clothesline. They then trade blows in the corner and Ambrose comes out on top after a series of chops. He then slams Kofi and tags in Reigns. Reigns goes for a tackle in the corner and Kofi counters with an elbow. Reigns then nails him with a big boot. He goes for a Superman Punch but Big E drags Kofi out of the ring as we go to break.
When we come back from the break Kofi is in control in the ring. We are shown that during the break Big E tackled Reigns into the barricade on the outside. Big E tags in and nails Reigns with a series of kicks to the gut. He then goes for a splash on the apron but Reigns rolls out of the way and Big E lands hard. Reigns tags in Ambrose who hits a series of strikes on Big E. He then counters a Big E Irish whip with a running forearm. Kofi tries to interfere and Ambrose goes after him on the outside, throwing him into the barricade. Big E tries to capitalize on the distraction but Ambrose tosses him to the outside. Ambrose then nails a suicide dive on Big E. While Ambrose is celebrating, Xavier nails him with a kick from behind and Big E is able to tag out to Kofi. Kofi hits Ambrose with a kick from the apron, tosses him inside, and gets a two count. The New Day then gang up on Ambrose with the Unicorn Stampede. They finish the double team off with Big E whipping Kofi into the corner and Kofi nailing a dropkick on Ambrose.
Kofi continues the assault on Ambrose, hitting a chop and a big kick in the corner. He tags in Big E who gets Ambrose in an abdominal stretch. He spanks Ambrose repeatedly trying to get a “New Day Rocks” chant going but Ambrose gets out of it by biting Big E on the nose. Big E responds with slam and tags out to Kofi. Kofi goes for a flying attack off the top turnbuckle but Ambrose counters. Kofi manages to tag out to Big E before Ambrose can get the energy to tag in Reigns. Big E goes for a slam but Ambrose counters with a suplex, creating some space and allowing him to make the hot tag to Reigns. Big E tags in Kofi but Reigns is all over him. He nails a series of slams and then some clotheslines in the corner.Very mixed reaction from the crowd. Reigns goes for a Superman Punch but Xavier and Big E distract Reigns on the apron. He fights them off but Kofi is able to capitalize and hits a kick on Reigns in the corner and is able to tag out to Big E. Big E goes for a slam but Reigns reverses and both men are down. They both tag in their partners and Ambrose tries to clean house but gets distracted by Xavier on the outside. Kofi hits a big kick from the apron but Reigns hits a clothesline off the steps on Kofi. Big E surprises Reigns with a big slam on the floor. Big E tosses Ambrose back in and nails him with a running attack. He sets up Ambrose for a Kofi attack from the top rope but Ambrose gets out of it. Reigns takes out Kofi with a spear and Ambrose nails Big E with Dirty Deeds to get the three count.
Before Reigns and Ambrose can celebrate, Brock comes out. Kofi and Xavier attack Reigns and Ambrose from behind. Reigns and Ambrose are able to fight them off but Brock gets in the ring and nails Ambrose with an F5. We end the show with Brock standing tall on the stage. Overall this was an enjoyable RAW. There were a couple dud matches but I think it did a good job building feuds and matches for Fastlane and continuing the road to WrestleMania. There was a lot of emphasis on Ambrose tonight, which is exciting, but I’m not getting my hopes up.