12/21 Powell’s WWE Raw Live TV Review: The 2015 Slammy Awards


By Jason Powell

Dot Net Members will be listening to my audio review of WWE Raw later tonight or on Tuesday and are already listening to the my 44-minute Q&A audio show from earlier today, and the fun Star Wars: The Force Awakens audio review that Will Pruett and I recorded last week. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership today via the Dot Net Members’ Signup Page.

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Minneapolis, Minnesota at Target Center

[Q1] A video package recapped Roman Reigns being slapped silly and kicked in the balls. Oh, and he won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Sheamus too… A narrator welcomed viewers to the “most prestigious awards program on television.” Yes, that’s a real quote… Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton were on commentary and wore tuxedos…

Stephanie McMahon headed to the ring to boos and welcomed fans to Raw and the Slammy Awards. She addressed Reigns winning the title and taking out her 70 year-old father last week. She said that unlike the fans, McMahons do not wallow in their own self pity. She said this is a night of celebration.

Roman Reigns’ entrance music played and he made his entrance through the crowd and let some fans touch the title belt before bumping fists as he headed to the ring. Stephanie forced a smile once Reigns joined her in the ring.

Reigns said it seems like a good night and that Stephanie, he, and the fans were in a good mood. He said they were celebrating the Slammy Awards and a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Reigns told Stephanie that he doesn’t sweat her or her father, “and I damn sure don’t swear your husband Triple H.” Reigns asked why he would given that he hasn’t seen him since he laid him out at TLC.

Reigns told Stephanie to tell her husband that he’s not hard to find and he’s the guy carrying the gold. “Get out,” Stephanie responded. Stephanie told Reigns to march his way back up the stairs where he came from. Reigns laughed. Stephanie raised her voice when the fans chanted “no” and he told her they don’t want him to leave. “This is my ring,” she yelled. “Get out!”

Reigns told Stephanie that she sounds like a little kid. Stephanie told him to leave before she makes him leave. Stephanie’s tantrum continued. Reigns asked the fans if they want to see her get really bad. Reigns turned his back and she said, “How dare you turn your back to me.” Reigns smiled as he left the ring and played to the fans. Reigns walked back up the steps and bumped fists with the fans.

Stephanie announced New Day vs. The Uso Brothers in a handicap match to get revenge on Reigns. When that didn’t get a response, she booked Dean Ambrose in a cage match against Sheamus. Reigns laughed and held up the title belt. Stephanie there would be hell to pay because of Reigns…

Powell’s POV: So The Uso Brothers get a handicap match, but Ambrose gets a singles match. Um, okay? The segment was good in terms of getting the fans behind Reigns. They liked him when he came out and Stephanie is a safe person for him to play off because it’s not like the fans are going to root for her over him. It worked well and the live crowd stayed behind Reigns from start to finish.

[Q2] The broadcast team set up the announcement of the first Slammy Award… Dolph Ziggler came out to present the award for Breakout Star of the Year. Ziggler said there’s no blueprint for breaking out, you just have to make an impact. Ziggler ran through the nominees and they went to break… [C]

After the break, Ziggler announced that Neville won the Breakout Star of the Year.

Powell’s POV: Somewhere backstage, Vince McMahon is joking that Neville’s ears won the Breakout Star of the Year.

Neville came out and gave a brief speech before he was interrupted by Kevin Owens, who said he should have won. He received some cheers that were drown out by boos. Neville told him “whatever, Kevin” and then left. Really? Owens said he’s seen a lot of ridiculous things happen in WWE, but this one takes the cake.

Owens boasted that he beat John Cena in his first match. Owens turned to Ziggler and asked him what was so funny. He told him the only way Ziggler would win a Slammy is if they have a Has-Been of the Year category. Ziggler attacked Owens, but they were quickly separated by referees…

Powell’s POV: If this were a shoot, Owens would be right on the money since he beat Cena in his first match and won the Intercontinental Championship. Neville looked like a chump for just walking away.

1. Bray Wyatt (w/Braun Strowman, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan) vs. Kane. The Wyatts were in the ring coming out of the last segment and then Kane made his entrance for the match. It didn’t last long, as the rest of the Wyatt Family attacked Kane at ringside for the DQ. The Dudley Boyz and Tommy Dreamer ran out for the save and there was an ECW chant…

Kane apparently beat Bray Wyatt by DQ in 1:00.

Powell’s POV: Let me guess, an eight-man tag after the break?

[Q3] 2. Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan vs. Kane, The Dudley Boys, and Tommy Dreamer. The match was joined in progress. Cole’s big joke is that Strowman reminds him of Chewbacca from the new Star Wars movie. He’s hip. He’s cool. He’s with it. In the end, Harper caught D-Von with a discus clothesline and pinned him…

The Wyatt Family beat Kane, The Dudley Boyz, and Tommy Dreamer.

Powell’s POV: I’ll bet they have no clue where they are going with the Wyatt Family and are just spinning their wheels. Hopefully I’m wrong and they’re just waiting until the new year to launch their next program. By the way, no one has mentioned the Steve Harvey incident from the Miss Universe pageant, so one can only assume we’re getting a spoof on that tonight.

Santino Marella was introduced. He set up the video package for the LOL Moment of the Year nominees. Voting is open now, mizarks… [C] R-Truth won the LOL Moment of the Year award. Santino said he was accepting on behalf of Truth because he’s never won one before. R-Truth came out Santino tricked him earlier and ran off…

[Q4] The broadcast team announced Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens, and hyped Ambrose vs. Sheamus in a cage match… Mick Foley played Santa Claus and his daughters played elves in a pre-taped skit…

Paul Heyman came out to present the OMG Moment of the Year award. He said that with the exception of the LOL and Diva of the Year award should be awarded to Brock Lesnar. Brock’s hometown fans cheered. Heyman set up the nominees video for OMG Shocking Moment of the Year… [C]

Powell’s POV: We haven’t even made it through an hour yet. I’m sorry, but the annual fan vote awards show does nothing for me.

The screen went black (and I got really excited) and then it came back on during a Tribute to the Troops video package… Back to Heyman, who announced that Kalisto won the OMG Shocking Moment of the Year for the big spot at TLC. Kalisto said moments like these motivate him to keep fighting and to fly higher. He capped it off by leading some in the crowd in a “lucha” chant…

Powell’s POV: It appeared reality had set in for the Minneapolis crowd when most of them sat there rather than take part in the lucha chant. Many of the attendees probably thought it was a big deal to get the Slammy Awards. Now they realize that they have to sit through a bunch of video packages, skits, and nonsense with mostly throwaway matches. And many of these poor souls were also in attendance for Ho-Ho Hogan at last year’s Christmas week edition of Raw in the same venue. At this point, WWE owes Minneapolis a WrestleMania for putting the fans through this holiday week nonsense.

3. Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler. Owens had the first prolonged run of offense.

[Q5] Cole hyped Smackdown live on USA for tomorrow night. Ziggler came back with a DDT heading into the break. [C] Owens back in control and got a near fall. He went for his finisher, but Ziggler went over the top of him, landed on his feet, and superkicked him to the floor. The announcers said Owens was lucky he ended up at ringside.

Back in the ring, Ziggler hit the Fameasser and got a good two count that the crowd counted along with. Ziggler ended up running into a Pop-Up Powerbomb, and Owens pinned him clean…

Kevin Owens pinned Dolph Ziggler in 12:05.

Powell’s POV: A good match to break up the monotony of the meaningless awards. There was a half-assed “this is awesome” chant from the crowd.

Stephanie McMahon was introduced and came out to no reaction for her second appearance of the night. She apologized for losing her temper earlier and then the boos started. Stephanie listed the nominees for the Superstar of the Year award and noted that ever wrestler on the roster was eligible for the first time ever. She set up a video package with “the nominees.” It was a video that featured a bunch of wrestlers and spotlighted Reigns, Sheamus, John Cena, Bray Wyatt, New Day, Brock Lesnar, Undertaker, Kane, Sting, etc.

Powell’s POV: Kane?!? So Roman is winning to give another Stephanie and Roman moment?

[Q6] Cole said the winner of Superstar of the Year would be announced after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: This is from a friend at Raw: I didn’t think it could be worse than Ho Ho Hogan and the Xmas show. Turns out there is worse, the Slammys and Xmas. Brutal show. Everyone here is mind numbingly bored.

Seth Rollins won the Superstar of the Year award. Rollins’ music played and the broadcast team questioned if he he was in the building. Rollins used crutches to make his way onto the stage. The crowd came to life. Stephanie hugged Rollins, who was all smiles. The announcers reminded viewers that Rollins never actually lost the championship.

Rollins said there was a tiny part of him that wanted to say thank you. “Was there really any other option for superstar of the year?” he asked. Rollins ran through some of his accomplishments. “One wrong landing and it disappears just like that,” Rollins said.

Rollins said he wanted everyone to listen very closely to him. Rollins said that in 2016 he will redesign Seth Rollins, “I will build myself and reclaim the title that I never lost,” he said. Rollins said he will take back what is his…

Powell’s POV: Finally, something unexpected and fun. It was good to see Rollins for the first time since he underwent knee surgery. He was heelish throughout most of this segment, but his line about how it “disappears just like that” could easily be used as a theme for him turning babyface when the time comes.

Cole announced John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio for next week’s Raw and hyped that it was Cena’s return for the first time since Hell in a Cell. There was no mention of the title being on the line…

4. U.S. Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger. Del Rio was in control heading into the early break. [C] Rusev, Sheamus, and King Barrett were at ringside. Swagger took control and led the crowd in a We The People chant and followed up with a Swagger Bomb.

[Q7] JBL talked about how Minneapolis is AWA country and fans there remember the Vader Bomb. Swagger got tied up in the ropes and then Del Rio performed his finisher for the win. Cole said that’s what John Cena has to look forward to next week. After the match, Sheamus performed a Brogue Kick on Swagger…

Alberto Del Rio beat Jack Swagger in a non-title match in 7:10.

Powell’s POV: A logical finish given that Del Rio is facing Cena next week. By the way, Leon White worked in the AWA early in his career, but he worked as Vader after leaving.

Mark Henry came out to present an award while Cole gushed over him and said he is a hero to so many. The nominees for The Hero In All Of Us award were Natalya, Roman Reigns, Big Show, Titus O’Neil, John Cena. They read through the charities they work with. Cole said it was time to vote… [C]

Powell’s POV: An ad for TNA Impact Wrestling moving to Pop TV on January 5 aired on DirecTV (and presumably on some other platforms) during the break.

A Did You Know graphic boasted about the work WWE does with the military… Henry announced The Hero In All Of Us award winner is John Cena. The crowd roared. Henry announced that Cena is not at the show. The crowd booed. Henry said he spoke with some of the guys before the show and they don’t expect an award for what they do. He accepted the award on behalf o Cena…

Powell’s POV: Not even a recorded message? I suppose that may have pissed off the live crowd even more.

The broadcast team ran through some of the awards that were issued on the Raw Pre-Show…

Santa Claus was introduced to present the award for Surprise Return of the Year. A non-Foley version of Santa came out to no reaction. It turned out that it was Bo Dallas, who said he’s the real Santa Claus unlike that fat, smelly old man at the mall. “Santa Claus is real, all you have to do is Bo-lieve.” The nominees for the award were the Dudley Boyz, Chris Jericho, Alberto Del Rio, Kane(?), and Sting…

[Q8] [C] Sting won the Surprise Return of the Year award. Sting wasn’t there either and Bo accepted. The crowd cheered a bit when he won and there were groans and boos when he wasn’t there to accept…

Powell’s POV: This is embarrassing. Two segments in a row without the winner being present.

New Day stood in the ring and said Sting didn’t care enough to show up, but they were there. They shamed the fans for not voting for them for any awards. Big E teased spoiling Star Wars, but Kofi Kingston hadn’t seen it yet…

Powell’s POV: I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and then turned the channel when Big E threatened to spoil Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

5. Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods vs. The Uso Brothers in a handicap match. New Day bailed to ringside early on and they cut to commercial. [C] The Uso Brothers remained in offensive control and worked over Woods coming out of the break. New Day came back and Woods played the trombone as they roughed up one of the brothers.

[Q9] Cole hyped the live broadcast of Smackdown for tomorrow night. Jimmy eventually made the hot tag to Jey Uso, had an offensive flury on Woods. Big E ran in, but Uso took him out with a kick and then threw Woods into the air and performed a Samoan Drop and went for a pin that Kingston broke up. A short time later, Woods rolled up one of the Uso Brothers, who rolled through and got the pin…

The Uso Brothers defeated New Day in a handicap match in 11:00.

Powell’s POV: The live crowd got up for that match. They were into New Day’s antics, and then rallied behind the Uso Brothers during what was a good television match.

Cole hyped New Day vs. The Lucha Dragons for the WWE Tag Team Championship for Tuesday’s live Smackdown… The broadcast team instructed viewers how to vote for the remaining awards…

R-Truth came out with his award. He apologized for having to chase Santino Marella. He said he won LOL Moment and the award belongs to him. He said 2015 has been the year of the Diva (let’s hope 2016 is the year of the women’s division). He said they have style and grace and some of them could probably beat him. The nominees for Diva of the Year were Nikki Bella, Naomi, Paige, Sasha Banks, and Charlotte… [C]

Powell’s POV: How can I vote for Bayley?

An ad with Big Show and the Bella Twins touted WWE Week on USA Network and then Cole did the same… R-Truth won the Diva of the Year award. Paige was all smiles. She hugged Truth and then pushed him aside. It was time for the Steve Harvey gag, as Truth returned and said he made a mistake. Paige threw a fit. Truth announced Nikki Bella as the Diva of the Year.

Nikki Bella won Diva of the Year award.

Nikki came out wearing a see through dress and hugged Paige. Nikki asked Paige to stay with her. She spoke about being the longest running champion and the success of Total Divas, then dedicated the award to the other female wrestlers, the women in the office, etc. Nikki and Paige left together and were best of buds…

Powell’s POV: You had to know that was going to happen tonight. Oh, I was talking about the Steve Harvey moment, not Nikki winning Diva of the Year, but yeah, that too. Was Nikki’s dress PG? I guess it didn’t expose anything more than her ring gear does. I wonder how many times Will Pruett voted for Nikki?

[Q10] 6. Rusev (w/Sheamus, King Barrett, Alberto Del Rio) vs. Neville. The Miz sat in on commentary. Rusev dominated Neville at ringside heading into the break. [C] Neville put Rusev down and went up top. He was on the top rope for a bit and by the time he jumped Rusev was already on his feet and caught him with a kick. Rusev applied the Accolade for the win. Afterward, Sheamus dished out another Brogue Kick…

Rusev beat Neville in 8:10.

Powell’s POV: That was an awkward finish. The camera focussed on Neville on the top rope, so we didn’t see what Rusev was doing, so it looked strange when he took that long and still leapt even though Rusev was on his feet by then.

The Miz was introduced as the presenter for the This Is Awesome Moment of the Year. The crowd responded with silence. He said his goal was to do the Oscars better than the Oscars. He ran through his movies and said he’s not even nominated for his own award. “But so be it,” he said. The nominees were Brock Lesnar destroying a car, Randy Orton hitting an RKO out of nowhere, The Divas Revolution, The Shield performing the Triple Powerbomb on Randy Orton, and The Rock and Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania… [C]

[Q11] The Rock and Ronda Rousey won the This Is Awesome Moment of the Year award. In a shocking twist, Miz accepted the award on their behalf. Miz said that if Rock was there, he would tell everyone that Santa’s Little Helper is bigger than Star Wars and every movie out there…

Powell’s POV: This wretched disaster of a show must move to WWE Network as they talked about doing. This is atrocious. It’s bad enough that the awards feel meaningless, but it’s even worse when Rollins is the only winner who isn’t active right now who showed up. At least they could get some recorded comments if the show was on the network and there was no live crowd to boo people for not being present.

7. Becky Lynch (w/Charlotte) vs. Brie Bella. Lynch applied the Disarmer for the win. Cole noted that she did it on her own. Saxton said that’s something to feel good about. JBL said going to the pay window is something to feel good about and winning is winning…

Becky Lynch beat Brie Bella in 5:15.

Powell’s POV: Pretty straight forward with Lynch winning without any outside interference. It seemed like a setup for the broadcast team to have their quick debate.

Ric Flair was the presenter for the Match of the Year award. The nominees were John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins at the Royal Rumble, Sting vs. Triple H at WrestleMania(?!?), John Cena vs. Kevin Owens at Elimination Chamber, Roman reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens vs. Alberto Del Rio in a four-way on Raw, and Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match…

[Q12] [C] Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar won the Match of the Year award. Lesnar’s music played and the crowd erupted. Fools! Paul Heyman came out instead to accept the award on behalf of his client. The fans booed. There was a “We Want Lesnar” chant.

Heyman said if they want him to shoot from the hip, he’d give them this. “Brock Lesnar has no desire to accept awards,” Heyman said. “Brock Lesnar wants to come for a fight. Now you want Brock Lesnar, but no one in that locker room is man enough to want Brock Lesnar.”

Heyman said Undertaker stood and picked a fight with The Beast. He congratulated Taker for taking that beating inside Hell in a Cell. Heyman ran through Lesnar’s accomplishments and worked in a University of Minnesota reference to get some easy cheers…

The cage lowered for the main event as Cole hyped Sheamus vs. Dean Ambrose. They cut backstage to where League of Nations were beating up The Uso Brothers. Del Rio put one of them in the Cross Arm Breaker while Rusev put the other in the Accolade. Sheamus delivered Brogue Kicks to both Uso Brothers…

Cole hyped Big Show for ESPNews SportsCenter on Tuesday… League of Nations made their entrance to very little reaction… [C]

Powell’s POV: I’m sure most live crowds was be disappointed that Lesnar wasn’t booked, but the Minnesota crowd truly expected him to be there since they know he lives in Alexandria. It doesn’t help that this was the last award of the night and the fans were probably thinking that WWE was going to close out the awards on a high note. I don’t blame them. I would say this show is a massive letdown, but there’s a reason I didn’t attend it in person and I have zero regrets.

An ad hyped John Cena returning to face Alberto Del Rio (in an apparent non-title match) on next week’s Raw… Dean Ambrose made his entrance for the main event and received a strong reaction. Cole announced Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens in a Triple Threat for the Intercontinental Title for Tuesday’s live Smackdown television show…

8. Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus (w/Alberto Del Rio, Rusev, King Barrett) in a non-title cage match. As Ambrose was entering the cage, Sheamus kicked him to ringside with a Brogue Kick. The rest of League of Nations attacked Ambrose, then rolled him inside the ring to start the match.

[Overrun] Sheamus ran Ambrose into the cage and dominated the early portion of the match thanks to the outside interference. Cole said there were 1.34 million votes cast for the Slammy Awards. There was a loud “This is Boring” chant. Amen, Minnesota.

Stephanie McMahon was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Sheamus performed White Noise from the top rope at 4:40 and went for a cover, but Ambrose kicked out. An impressive spot that the live crowd reacted to.

Ambrose ended up knocking Sheamus off the ropes a short time later and was at the top of the cage. Rusev and Del Rio climbed the cage by him, so he decided to perform his flying elbow off the top of the cage and onto a standing Sheamus in the ring. Ambrose tried to leave through the cage, but Del Rio slammed the door on his head.

Roman Reigns ran out and attacked the extra League of Nations members at ringside with a chair. Barrett ducked a chair swing and headed away from ringside, so he’s probably not able to do anything physically at this point.

Sheamus tried to escape the cage, but Reigns climbed the cage and glared at him through it. Reigns tossed the chair inside the cage. Ambrose got it and worked over Sheamus with it. Ambrose performed Dirty Deeds on the chair. Ambrose climbed the cage and made it to the top, but Sheamus climbed up and stopped him.

Both men sat atop the cage and traded punches. They both started to climb the outside of the cage. Sheamus threw punches and both guys hung on for no good reason. Sheamus headbutted Ambrose, who fell from the cage and landed on the floor to win the match. Once Sheamus dropped down, Reigns speared him…

Dean Ambrose beat Sheamus in a cage match in 11:45.

Backstage, Tom Phillips asked Stephanie McMahon for her reaction to the match. She slapped him repeatedly and left him lying on the ground in front of the monitor. Yes, really. Reigns and Ambrose celebrated in the aisle as Cole hyped the live Smackdown for the following night…

Powell’s POV: A strong effort from Sheamus and Ambrose to close a show that could not be saved. The finish was really strange since both men were hanging onto the side of the cage and trading shots when they both could have simply fallen to the floor to win. Still, the cage match closed the show on a high note. Let the record show that I am already dreading the 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and all future Slammy Award shows. Thanks for suffering along with me.


Readers Comments (3)

  1. This was so poorly written…getting wrestlers names wrong and replacing one wrestlers name with another is really ‘school-boy’. (‘Henry announced that Henry is not at the show. The crowd booed’) – I booed when I read that….

    I usually like this review site, but this is really poor.

  2. i don’t think there were any big angles because we’re gonna get em tonight on smackdown since the wanna bolster smackdown moving to USA for 2016.

  3. please get rid of the comment section, I can already see people are gonna complain about every little mistake

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