Veronica and Brendo discuss Roman Reigns’ suspension and its repercussions, Sami Zayn vs. Seth Rollins on Smackdown, the return of The Wyatt Family, more brand split talk, product placement on RAW, Nattie and T.J.’s cats, the return of Sasha Banks, Botchamania, the terrible Shelly Martinez vs. Rebel match, EVOLVE, Paul Heyman, the Cruiserweight Classic, NJPW Dominion, and more. Thanks for listening and tell your friends!
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.
I’ve decided to try and actively watch things more instead of having my phone out or playing Pokemon Shuffle. I figured a good way to do that is to have my laptop open and write about what I’m watching. We’ll see how it goes. I think this would make a good addition to the MBWS site since the podcast is in a holding pattern. I’m working on re-launching that but it might take some time. Benson is a busy guy these days and I still have doubts about having a show where it’s just two dudes talking about wrestling since there are a ton of those shows. Talking to the wrestlers at MWE was something that separated us and without it the show just felt lacking. Our awesome listeners have responded otherwise so if you guys want it, I’ll do my best to give you something worthwhile. Until then, let’s watch RAW!
We start with a recap of Roman and Steph from last week. I know why they have to do these constant recaps but it still kind of drives me crazy. Man, it is still nuts to see how ripped Vince still is. I don’t know a lot about bodybuilding, but that can’t be natural, can it? But then again, the guy has been hitting the weights his entire life and that probably can do a lot for you. I have no idea.
So whoever wins the Royal Rumble will be the champion. The only other time the title has been at stake in the Rumble it was vacant so this is a first. It looks like a huge chunk of the Rumble entrants are on stage as Vince and Steph come out to hype up the Rumble. I am so disappointed that Sandow is just back to his old gimmick. They really blew that whole opportunity. The Wyatts interrupt. He continues with the “Anyone but you, Roman” rhetoric. I can dig it. Vince teases Brock but then Roman interrupts to what sounds like a decent pop. Vince announces a One Vs. All match pitting Roman against an untold amount of opponents. Stardust is rocking Bowie face paint and it’s awesome. Sheamus attacks Ambrose to start the first match of the evening.
Sheamus vs. Dean Ambrose
Sheamus is just kind of there for me. I don’t particularly dislike him or like him. I like the mohawk and beard, unlike most people. I think it makes gives him some much needed personality and solidifies his image. Like it or not, he’s the top heel right now and he’s doing the best he can. Hopefully Owens can rise to that top heel spot soon because he’s a million times better than Sheamus. Good brawling between Sheamus and Ambrose. Those announce tables seem to be getting more and more solid as it showed no give whatsoever when Sheamus slammed Ambrose on to it. Ambrose’s forearms are looking a lot better lately. Sometimes it looks like they don’t even connect. Some good near falls making this a pretty exciting match. Ambrose counters White Noise with his rebound clothesline, knocking Sheamus out of the ring. This leads to more brawling which is what these guys are good at. They end up getting counted out and Sheamus is busted open. That’s not something you see every day on RAW. Ambrose teases slamming Sheamus onto the announce table but is attacked by Owens. These guys have been doing a great job building this feud. Owens manages to get past all the refs to put the boots to Ambrose. He finally heads to the back and does it in the usual great Owens way.
We get a tease for tonight’s Highlight Reel with Jericho and The New Day. This should be great. We also get a shot of Bourbon Street as we are in New Orleans tonight. Crazy it’s been almost 2 years since I was there for WrestleMania 30. Rene interviews Ambrose and Ambrose assures us he’s still alive and ready to take on Owens. Ambrose is always great on the mic. Steph and Vince run into Paul Heyman backstage. Heyman always does a great job selling whatever needs to be sold, hyping up tonight’s One Vs. All Match and of course his client, Brock Lesnar. Heyman tries to sell Lesnar as the challenger to the title at WrestleMania. Vince doesn’t like it.
Stardust vs. Titus O’Neil
Stardust’s Bowie homage is great. Drew Brees is in the house with his Cena fan sons. Poor kids. Stardust is one of my favorite wrestlers. O’ Neil has a lot of upside and charisma. I think these guys work well together. They go back and forth with Stardust showing a necessary aggressive side against Titus.The whole back of Titus’ head is covered in silver paint after a Stardust sleeper hold. Pretty funny. Stardust gets a nearfall after a well executed counter but then walks into the Clash of the Titus after a miss off the top rope for the loss. He then attacks Titus after the bell from behind so it looks like this feud will continue. I think in the right circumstances Cody could finally rise to the top of the roster but it doesn’t seem like that is happening any time soon.
Highlight Reel with The New Day
Jericho is wearing some goofy scarf thing and no shirt under his glow jacket and vest. I guess it fits his rockstar persona. I loved Jericho’s segment with New Day last week so hopefully we’ll get more of that tonight. Jericho is going to be in the Rumble so that should be cool. Jericho comparing his return to Star Wars and Guns N’ Roses. As he is telling the crowd how he’s walking out of the Rumble champion, The New Day interrupts. Those Unicorn horns are silly but part of me wants one. These guys are so good on the mic and pairing them with Jericho just makes sense. Rooty Tooty Booty indeed. They are still hurt they didn’t win Tag Team of The Year Slammy. I don’t blame them. The Uso’s come out with their Slammys to taunt The New Day. Jericho proposes match between Kofi and Big E vs. The Usos and he’ll be in their corner.
The Usos vs. Big E and Kofi Kingston
The Usos are all right but I am a huge New Day fan both in and out of the ring. Usos are great in the ring but I feel like The New Day are more versatile. I can’t tell the Usos apart but one of them had a funny dance spot to antagonize Big E after smashing him in the corner. The crowd dug it. Kofi launches Jimmy off the top rope to the outside and here comes Xavier with the trombone. Jericho chases him off. Jimmy goes for the hot tag to Jay but Big E pulls Jay off the apron. Great teamwork from New Day, as always. More dancing from Jay as The Usos regain momentum and a dive to the outside followed by a good looking crossbody from the top turnbuckle. Big E regains control though and the straps are down. Jay counters the Big Ending with a Superkick but Big E manages to tag to Kofi who gets a Superkick as well. Xavier distracts the ref but Jericho is right there and smashes the trombone. This makes the second trombone casualty. Xavier is inconsolable over the loss and the Usos take advantage and win with a rollup on Kofi.
Michael Cole discusses Cena’s shoulder surgery and we see some pictures of the surgery. This is the worst possible time for Cena to be out but it is also exciting to see who is going to step up especially with the potential Bullet Club and Nakamura signings.
Steph has a heated discussion with Heyman. Heyman says Lesnar says no to competing in the Royal Rumble. Steph informs Heyman that Brock will compete or he will be fired. JBL is in the ring to announce Sting’s induction into the Hall of Fame. This is definitely deserved I am just a little sad that it likely means we won’t be seeing him in the ring again and that his recent neck injury is indeed career ending. I was hoping for one more Wrestlemania match but as any wrestling fan knows too well, you can’t always get what you want. Great video package highlighting his legendary career. For me Sting was WCW, the only reason I ever watched when I was a kid and the main reason I flipped back and forth during the Monday Night Wars.
The Wyatts vs. The Social Outcasts
While the Wyatts come down they hype a tables match between the Dudleys and The Wyatts on Smackdown on Thursday. It looks like they really are serious about elevating Smackdown. Last week’s show was great especially with the introduction of Mauro Ranallo on commentary. As Bray grabs the mic they are interrupted by the introduction of The Social Outcasts, my new favorite stable. They now have matching shirts with their names on them so that’s a good sign that this might be around for awhile. Strohman starts off getting the best of both Rose and Dallas, Axel comes in and has a little bit more luck but is then brought down by a fierce shoulder tackle. Bray tags in and before he gets to do anything Ryback comes out. He takes out the Wyatts with the assistance of The Social Outcasts. I guess this was all just to build the Ryback/Wyatts feud.
Next is a clip from Smackdown where Kalisto got a win over U.S. Champ Alberto Del Rio which earns him a title shot against ADR tonight. Sin Cara getting injured might be the best thing that’s ever happened for Kalisto as he can finally show his singles prowess that any follower of the Indies knows he has. He gives a good interview with Rene to show he is ready and game for tonight’s match.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto (U.S. Title Match)
Alberto taunts the crowd saying John Cena is not there tonight because of him. Heel ADR is great. I don’t understand the detractors. He has looked great since his return aside from that silly MexAmerica thing which quickly got dropped. Sad for Zeb though as I am a huge Zeb fan. Hopefully they’ll find something else for him to do. Kalisto does a pretty good job getting the crowd hyped up. Hopefully this will be a big match for him. They’re definitely giving it the Big Match treatment, which is good. Del Rio starts right in with some crisp, fierce offense. He tosses Kalisto to the outside and does a great job taunting the crowd. Kalisto finally manages to fight back and hits a senton on ADR followed by a great corkscrew attack off the ropes. ADR quickly gets control back with a punishing sit-out powerbomb. ADR shuts down another Kalisto comeback with a vicious clothesline. This has been the story throughout the match so far. Really well done. Kalisto gets an opening and goes for a dive to the outside but ADR sniffs it out and smashes him into the barricade. Brutal. Kalisto is still fighting back though and showing a lot of fire. ADR keeps shutting him down though. Kalisto hits a hurricanrana from top rope and finally mounts an offense. He hits another great looking corkscrew off the ropes and then a DDT for a nearfall. ADR is right back on offense though, going for his big kick but Kalisto counters for another near fall. ADR counters a Salina Del Sol attempt by tossing Kalisto into the ropes. He then puts Kalisto in the tree of woe and goes for his big stomp finish, which Kalisto ducks out of and hits him with a head scissors for another near fall and the crowd is really into this match now. Another Salina Del Sol counter but Kalisto manages to counter a Del Rio suplex into a pinfall. New U.S. Champion! I wasn’t expecting that and the crowd is digging it. This is huge for Kalisto. Great match.
We see highlights from last week’s match between Charlotte and Becky. I’m super happy this has turned into a real feud with a real story, something the Divas division desperately needs. JoJo interviews Charlotte and Ric Flair. Charlotte gives a good heel promo telling us she’s the best, that Becky is the real villain and she is the victim.
Brie Bella vs. Charlotte
I can never get tired of seeing Ric Flair strutting down that aisle. Never. Becky attacks Charlotte from out of nowhere as Charlotte does her splits entrance. This is great, building the feud. Becky has to be dragged out by the refs. Ric then says Charlotte is in no condition to wrestle tonight and it’s all Becky Lynch’s fault. Ric yells “What are you going to do about it fatboy?” to a guy at ringside. Still the best. No match occurred. JoJo interviews Becky backstage. Becky does a great job selling this rivalry, she feels betrayed. This is what Becky needs to get to that next level on the main roster.
Roman Reigns vs. Everybody
Vince and Stephanie come out to introduce the competitors which are basically all the heels on the roster. I don’t see Rusev though and Barrett is reportedly injured again. Kevin Owens starts off the match and the rest of the opponents are on the outside. Steph says Roman will battle all of these superstars until he can no longer move. Owens dominates early but Roman regains control and tosses Owens to the outside. Owens regains control after re-entering the ring and does a great job riling up the crowd. Stardust is sadly back to his normal face paint since most of his Bowie paint ended up on Titus’ head. Owens gets Roman in a chinlock and the crowd is firmly behind Reigns. Sheamus distracts Reigns and Owens hits him with a kick to knock him to the outside where he hits him with a senton. That always looks painful. Thankfully they showed what happened during the commercial as it turns out Owens hit a very impressive frog splash from the apron onto Reigns on the floor. Owens is one of the most agile guys on the roster, period. His weight is definitely not an issue and I think works in his favor. Beautiful Superkick from Owens results in another near fall. Reigns goes shoulder first into the steel post and Owens hits him with his cannon ball splash for yet another near fall. The crowd is chanting “Suplex City” as they clearly want Brock but I’m enjoying seeing Owens do his thing.
Roman starts building steam but Owens is holding his own. He goes for a Superman punch on Owens but the Ascension hop on the apron so he hits them with it. He then takes out Stardust and Tyler Breeze as well. Now all the heels are in the ring ganging up on Owens. The crowd is screaming for Brock. Del Rio hits him with his kick. Brogue Kick from Sheamus.
Brock’s music hits and the crowd goes nuts. New Day is in the ring to greet him and Brock takes them out. Suplex on Owens. He then takes out ADR. Sheamus gets the upper hand on him at first but then gets knocked to the ground. Suplexes on ADR and Sheamus. Brock stands tall in the ring over Roman, who he drags into the middle of the ring and then nails with the F5. His music hits as he exits the ring. He and Roman have a bit of a stare down to end the show.
Overall this was another solid RAW compared to some of the episodes we had to slog through in December. Some good matches with ADR vs. Kalisto definitely being the highlight but strong showings from Ambrose/Sheamus and New Day/Usos. I liked the fact that they gave the matches more time than it seems like they usually do. Hopefully this is a new trend. The closing segment did a good job building up the Royal Rumble match. Brock being in the Rumble makes it interesting and not as a sure thing as for Roman as some would think. Add to that the possibilities of AJ and NXT callups and hopefully we will have a much more exciting Rumble match this year.
Matt and Brendo discuss Hell in a Cell and lament the current state of the WWE. They also talk about what they would like to see happen to TNA but probably won’t happen. One can dream, right?