By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live from Brooklyn, New York at Barclays Center
[Q1] The Raw opening aired and then pyro was shot off on the stage. The broadcast team was Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton. Cole noted that there were 15,695 fans in attendance. They immediately hyped John Cena’s return and his match against Alberto Del Rio…
Vince McMahon made his entrance. He said he assumed Roman Reigns would anticipate calling him out, and he did just that. Reigns made his entrance through the crowd. Vince said he couldn’t find the heart to congratulate Reigns on winning the championship, especially given what he did to Triple H. Vince said Hunter would extract revenge one of these days and Reigns probably wouldn’t see it coming.
The crowd chanted “We Can’t Hear You.” Reigns told Vince, “You better speak up, old man.” Vince mocked the idea that they could hear Reigns and not him, then said, “Oh, I forgot, we’re in Brooklyn.” Vince recalled Reigns turning his back on Stephanie McMahon last week and said nobody does that to a McMahon. Vince said he had to have dental surgery after Reigns punched him. Vince said the ring is his and he even owns the WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt.
Vince said sooner or later Reigns will come to the realization that he even owns Reigns himself. Reigns said that’s the problem with rich snobs like him. “I’m not a rich snob, I’m a billionaire,” Vince said while adding there’s a big difference. Funny. Reigns said he and his supporters own the title belt, not Vince, who then asked the fans if they think they own it. A “yes” chant broke out.
Vince questioned how long Reigns thinks he’ll be champion. The fans chanted “Daniel Bryan” and Vince told them to shut up. A C.M. Punk chant broke out, but Vince ignored it and brought up The Wild Samoans. “You’re just one generation away from a bone in your nose,” Vince said. He also boasted that he ran Afa into the ground and made money off him until there was nothing left. Vince said he used up Reigns’ dad Sika, and boasted that he paid him peanuts. Reigns shoved Vince to the mat. “My neck,” Vince said repeatedly. “Somebody help me, dammit, my neck.”
Stephanie McMahon’s music played and she came out and called for help. Policemen walked out behind Stephanie, who told them to arrest Reigns for putting his hands on Vince. She called Reigns a neanderthal and told the cops to arrest Reigns. “No,” one of the cops replied before saying they were there to do security only. Stephanie kept trying and then started mouthing off until the cop threatened to send her to jail if she didn’t take a step back.
“I’m better,” Vince said. The cop told Vince that Stephanie needs to stay calm or she would go to jail. Vince told the cop that he knows who he is. Vince started jawing and told the cop not to threaten his daughter. “You’re pissing me off right now,” Vince said. Vince grabbed the cop by his jacket. The officers in uniform entered the ring. Vince said he didn’t mean to do that. The main cop told the officers to take Vince away.
[Q2] Vince was handcuffed and read his rights while Reigns held the mic in front of the main cop. Stephanie pleaded with the cops to stop. Reigns was all smiles.
Powell’s POV: So the idea was that Vince and Stephanie planned to have Reigns arrested. It was a decent segment, yet Vince’s arrest developed a little too easily and obviously. Still, they had the image of Vince being hauled off. I really liked Vince in this segment. He was far less over the top than he was last week and he showed that he still has the quick wit when he and Reigns veered off script to react to the live crowd. In many ways, this was Vince’s finest performance in years because he was more believable than he is when he has hammed it up too much.
A “hero” video package aired with Roman Reigns, John Cena, Randy Orton, Alicia Fox, and The Bella Twins among those featured… A video recap of the opening segment aired. You know, for those who watched the football pre-game show and then turned over to Raw once the actual game started…
New footage aired of Vince being placed in the back of a squad car and driven away while Stephanie threw a fit and yelled “Dad!!!” one too many times… The broadcast team addressed the Vince arrest…
1. Kevin Owens vs. Neville. The fans chanted “Kevin Owens” as he stood in the ring. He did not get a televised entrance, but they did air Neville’s full entrance. Unfortunately, Neville is still carrying around his stupid Slammy Award. Owens went for his finisher, but Neville countered into a pin for the surprisingly quick win.
Neville beat Kevin Owens in 0:22.
Owens flipped out after the match and threw Neville into the barricade at ringside. Owens also drove a split-legged Neville into the ring post and continued to throw punches at him until several referees talked him off… [C]
Powell’s POV: I was really hoping for a longer match, but obviously we haven’t seen the last of this feud so maybe that’s part of their motivation. I was hoping that Owens would destroy the Slammy Award so that poor Neville would never have to carry the damn thing to the ring again. By the way, did the Vince arrest happen so quickly because it was actually a swerve on Reigns for some reason? Just throwing it out there.
[Q3] The Owens attack continued after the break. The referees were helping Neville by the ramp when Owens clotheslined him and turned him inside out. Owens was setting up for a piledriver at ringside when Dean Ambrose made the save. Owens ran Ambrose into the ring post, but Ambrose came back with a clothesline. The referees held Ambrose back. Owens ended up leaving through the crowd…
Powell’s POV: A good attack by Owens on Neville. They must be setting up an Owens vs. Ambrose match too since they had him make the save.
The announcers recapped the angle and then narrated highlights of John Cena guest hosting the “Today” show on Monday. They also hyped Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio as the Raw main event… [C] The broadcast team hyped The Rock announcing that he will “electrify” at WrestleMania 32… A recap of the Charlotte vs. Brie Bella match from Smackdown was shown along with Team BAD attacking Becky Lynch while Charlotte watched…
Backstage, JoJo interviewed Becky Lynch. JoJo said Charlotte sent out a tweet saying she would not be on Raw so that Lynch could prove she could win without her. Becky said not having Charlotte in her corner may give her a disadvantage in her match against Sasha Banks because the other members will be in Banks’ corner, but she hasn’t let things stand in her way…
Sasha Banks, Naomi, and Tamina walked onto the stage for a promo. Sasha boasted that “The Boss is back in Brooklyn.” She put a New England Patriots hat on for easy heat. Naomi ripped Brooklyn as they headed to the ring for the match. Lynch made her entrance for the match…
[Q4] [C] 2. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks (w/Naomi, Tamina). Cole addressed Banks’ match with Bayley that was held at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn and called it one of the highlights of her career (she lost). Lynch caught Banks in a leg hold. Naomi distracted the referee, and then Tamina pulled Sasha to the ropes. A short time later, Becky dove onto all three Team BAD members at ringside. [C] After the break, Sasha was in control and the announcers were issuing a correction about where the Iron Woman match took place. A loud “boring” chant broke out as Sasha remained on the offensive.
[Q5] Sasha had Lynch on the ropes. She ran at her for a move, Lynch moved, and Sasha dove onto her own teammates at ringside and didn’t get much of a response. Some fans did count along as the referee counted until Sasha returned to the ring. A short time later, more Team Bad distractions led to some jockeying for position in the ring between the women, and it resulted in Lynch applying her Disarmer finisher only to have Sasha counter into a pin for the win while holding the tights…
Sasha Banks beat Becky Lynch in 15:40.
Powell’s POV: Once again, a heel grabs the tights while getting the pin only to have the broadcast team ignore it. It was the most obvious part of the replay that was shown and they didn’t even bother to point it out. Strange. I can’t say that I’m surprised by the “boring” chant during the match. It wasn’t their finest match, and the fans still aren’t connecting with Lynch enough that they want to see her work a 15-minute match. Keep in mind that while she was over by the time she left NXT, she also had the least memorable run of the the NXT women who were called up. So while Sasha still gets strong reactions based mostly on her NXT success, Lynch just doesn’t get that type of reaction. By the way, the real reason Charlotte wasn’t present and perhaps the reason that match received so much time is that WWE has a live event tonight in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The broadcast team set up a comically bad Vince McMahon mugshot. Outside the police station, Renee Young and other “reporters” stood by. She said he was being processed for resisting arrest and assault on an officer. She said Stephanie McMahon and attorney Jerry McDevitt (Vince’s real attorney) were both present… The broadcast team hyped a six-man tag match… New Day made their entrance… [C]
Powell’s POV: Vince McMahon now has his own Nick Nolte-like mugshot.
New Day delivered an in-ring promo. They boasted that they won the tag titles in Barclays Center, and the trombone made its debut there. Kofi tried to rev up the crowd for a new New Day song. However, Xavier Woods pointed out that they weren’t voted tag team of the year, so no one gets to hear their song. They wrapped up the promo and The Lucha Dragons made their entrance and they aired the big TLC spot again…
[Q6] 3. Kalisto (w/Sin Cara) vs. Kofi Kingston (w/Big E, Xavier Woods). Poor Kalisto had to carry his Slammy to the ring too. Cole hyped the Royal Rumble as being four weeks away and neglected to mention that it is idiotically running opposite the NFC Championship Game. Kalisto had Kofi pinned, but Woods distracted the referee. Kalisto still came back moments later and got the pin.
Kalisto pinned Kofi Kingston in 2:45.
After the match, Woods vented that Sin Cara cheated to help his little friend. Woods challenged Sin Cara and got undressed, then announced Sin Cara would be facing Big E… [C]
Powell’s POV: Well played by Woods. You had to know it was coming, but it was still fun to watch him get to announcing Sin Cara would face Big E rather than him.
4. Big E (w/Xaiver Woods, Kalisto) vs. Sin Cara (w/Kalisto). The match was joined in progress just as E was slapping Sin Cara on the side of his ass. Sin Cara was pulled off the ramp and onto the floor. E ran him back first into the ring. “What happened?” E asked sarcastically as trainers came out to check on Sin Cara. He eventually rolled back inside the ring as the announcers said he appeared to suffer a left shoulder injury. Big E set up Sin Cara in the tree of woe and charged at him, but Sin Cara sat up and E crashed into the post. Sin Cara took offensive control and eventually performed a rolling senton off the second rope.
[Q7] Kalisto prevented Woods from interfering, but Kingston took him out. A short time later, Big E performed his finisher and scored the pin…
Big E defeated Sin Cara.
Cole hyped the Miz TV Year-In-Review Spectacular… [C]
Powell’s POV: If Miz reviewing 2015 doesn’t keep viewers through the commercial break then nothing will. Or something like that. Anyway, Sin Cara’s spill at ringside looked rough. It seemed to be the planned spot and he just landed on the shoulder. By the way, Vince’s Nick Nolte mug shot would seem to eliminate my long shot guess that the arrest happened quickly because it’s a swerve. Instead, it appears it was just poorly written. Imagine that. Again, though, I really liked Vince’s performance compared to what we’ve seen from him in recent years.
Cole hyped John Cena appearing on the cover of a bodybuilding magazine and his return for later in the show…
The Miz stood in the ring for his spectacular. Ryback interrupted him and said Miz is stupid. Ryback said he’s had his fill of Miz TV. He said the fans don’t care about the past, they care about the future.
Powell’s POV: Buy WWE Network for the archives section today!!!
Ryback belched and then excused himself. Yes, really. He said 2016 is going to be the year of the Big Guy. Goldust made his entrance and asked if this was the year that Miz wins a SAG Award, an Oscar, or a Golden Globe. Zack Ryder made his entrance. Again, I’m not kidding. Ryder said 2016 is finally going to be the year of Zack Ryder. The Brooklyn fans got behind him and chanted his “woo, woo, woo” thing along with him.
Miz tried to talk about trying a type of yoga for the first time, but he was interrupted by R-Truth, who encouraged fans to vote for him in the Slammy Awards. Miz told him the Slammy Awards were last week and Truth won one for LOL Moment of the Year. Truth recalled and said this one is on him.
Powell’s POV: The shark has definitely jumped on this R-Truth bit.
Heath Slater made his entrance and said that if anyone has a lot to say, it’s him. Big Show’s music interrupted him. Slater told Show that no one cares what he has to say because it’s all about him. Show punched him and then started punching others out while Ryback leaned in the corner. Truth faked like he was punched out, which was funny. Show picked him up and knocked him out. The fans chanted “Feed Me More” and then Ryback and show squared off for the billionth time. Show cleared Ryback from the ring.
Show disappointed everyone by calling for a mic. The fans were chanting “please retire.” Show called them on the chant and they chanted “yes” back at him. Show said he needed to think about it. He said how about he enters the Royal Rumble match as entrant number one, he wins it, and he goes onto WrestleMania and shoves the WWE Championship “up each and every one of your… you’re not getting me in trouble”… An ad for the NXT 2015 review “part one” aired…
Powell’s POV: Nothing says badass rebellious heel like a guy saying the fans aren’t going to get him in trouble for swearing. Good lord. And is he really entering as the first entrant? That would be beyond stupid for anyone to request.
[Q8] [C] 5. Big Show vs. Ryback. In the end, Ryback was setting up for a clothesline when Show rolled to ringside, smiled, and walked away as the referee counted him out…
Ryback beat Big Show via count-out in 2:55.
Powell’s POV: Big Show punches out the heroes of WWE Superstars and then takes a count-out loss. If that doesn’t make you excited about Show’s latest return then I don’t know what will. Sigh.
Cole hyped the weekly time-filling six-man tag match for after the break… [C] Cole touted that Fabulous turned his son’s bed into a wrestling ring because he’s so obsessed with WWE… Ring entrances for the six-man time filler tag match took place. The Uso Brothers had to carry their stupid Slammy Awards to the ring too. Cole hyped Titus O’Neil appearing as the guest on ESPN tomorrow night. Sheamus cut a promo on his way to the ring about how fans should be ashamed for cheering Vince McMahon’s arrest.
Powell’s POV: I miss the good old days when a heel would carry his Slammy Awards around. Watching the babyfaces do it is just embarrassing.
[Q9] 6. Dean Ambrose and The Uso Brothers vs. Sheamus, Rusev, and King Barrett. Lana did not accompany to ringside. Oh, and Sheamus dedicated the match to Vince McMahon. The babyface trio jumped out to a fast start. Rusev got the better of Jimmy Uso, who sold a left knee injury after being hip-tossed into a corner of the ring. Rusev worked over the knee heading into a break. [C]
Later, the fans chanted “Sheamus is boring” as he worked over Jimmy Uso, who then tagged in Ambrose as Sheamus tagged in Rusev. Ambrose dominated and performed his top rope elbow heading into the break. [C] Rusev slammed Ambrose coming out of the break, but then missed a splash off the second rope.
[Q10] In the end, Barrett distracted one of the Uso Brothers long enough for Sheamus to put his knees up when the Uso went for a top rope splash. Sheamus followed up with a Brogue Kick for the win…
Sheamus, Rusev, and King Barrett beat Dean Ambrose and The Uso Brothers in 16:50.
After the match, Owens ran through the crowd and attacked Ambrose by running him into the ring steps. Owens took the broadcast team’s table and the ring steps apart. Owens set a piece of the steps next to the table, then powerbombed Ambrose through it…
Powell’s POV: Barrett has the best job in wrestling right now. He stand on the apron, falls off whenever someone from the other team comes near him, plays to the crowd, and causes non-contact interference. I assume he’s still awaiting medical clearance and they are just hoping that most viewers don’t notice that he never gets physically involved. Meanwhile, the Owens powerbomb through the table looked really good, and Ambrose did a nice job of selling it afterward. It didn’t help the angle that the fans were having fun making faces because they could see themselves on the big screen.
Cole hyped Cena vs. Del Rio for the main event… A shot of Renee Young outside the police department was shown. Cole said she would provide an update after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Vince should be very thankful that he wasn’t arrested in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.
[Q11] The broadcast team recapped Rock’s announcement that he’ll be at WrestleMania 32, then shifted to setting up a video of Vince McMahon being arrested earlier in the show… They aired the mug shot photos again…
At the cop shop, Renee Young was standing out front as Vince McMahon exited the police station and got into a vehicle without saying anything… Cole said the boss has made bail, then JBL questioned where he was going next…
John Cena made his entrance to the usual “John Cena sucks” singalong from the Brooklyn crowd. Cole hyped that Cena will co-host “Today” again on Tuesday. Cena received a mixed reaction and said, “The sweet sounds of Monday Night Raw.” He said he’d like to be having an open challenge, but Alberto Del Rio is the U.S. Champion. Cena noted that Del Rio has never defended the title on Raw.
Cena sang the praises of his open challenge format. He said the kids liked it and the adults called him names, then pointed to a fan with an anti-Cena shirt in the crowd. Cena said the fans deserve a championship effort, but Del Rio won’t put the title on the line. He called it a disgrace and apologized.
Del Rio made his entrance along with Sheamus, Barrett, and Rusev. Del Rio said Brooklyn doesn’t deserve a U.S. Title match. Cena called him an idiot. Cena praised the crowd and said Del Rio is worried he’ll lose. Del Rio reminded him he beat him last time. Cena told Del Rio to put the title on the line. “Or are you just gonna be a little punk bitch?” Cena asked. Del Rio called him Juan Cena and said he would have a fight because he’s a fighter, but not for the title.
Cena said he knows what happens next. He said the League of Nations will interfere before the match even starts. Cena called him gutless and spineless and said he’s a one-hit wonder who gained a championship and lost his manhood. Cena threw his shirt to the crowd. They threw it back. Cena said they are in Brooklyn and said it was the home of Notorious BIG and said they are in Jay Z’s house. Del Rio said he’s the man who beat Cena for the title and he would send Cena home by himself for good. “You want a title match?” Del Rio asked. “You got it”… [C]
[Q12] At ringside, the broadcast team addressed the death of Lemmy Kilmister and called him a longtime member of the WWE family. They aired still shots, played some of his Triple H song clips, and ran Tweets from various people regarding his death…
7. Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena for the U.S. Championship. Tony Chimel handled the in-ring introductions for the title match. Del Rio had the early advantage until he pulled his version of a Ric Flair top rope move (charging an opponent on the ropes, crashing and burning on the floor). They went to break with both men down. [C]
Cena got a near fall off a tornado DDT at 9:50. Both men were slow to get to their feet. Cena got up first and went for his finisher, but Del Rio countered into the Cross Arm Breaker. He pulled off one of Cena’s wristbands and tossed it aside. Cena got up and pulled up Del Rio and slammed him to the mat to break the hold.
[Overrun] Cena applied an STF and Del Rio tapped out, but the referee was down at ringside. Enter Sheamus and Rusev. Cena took a boot to the face from Rusev and then Sheamus woke up the referee as Del Rio covered Cena, who kicked out. Sheamus went for a Brogue Kick, but Cena avoided it and Sheamus kicked Rusev. Cena took out Sheamus. Del Rio caught Cena with the same finishing sequence he used at SummerSlam, but Cena kicked out this time. Del Rio went for the Cross Arm Breaker, but Cena avoided it and hit the Attitude Adjustment. Cena had Del Rio pinned, but Sheamus and Rusev hit the ring for the DQ finish.
John Cena beat Alberto Del Rio by DQ in 13:55.
Afterward, Sheamus put Cena down with a Brogue Kick. The Uso Brothers ran out and tried to help. They were quickly outnumbered. Reigns ran out and speared Rusev at ringside, then performed the Superman Punch. Reigns glared at Shemaus was standing on the opposite ring apron with a chair. Both men entered the ring. Sheamus took a Superman Punch, then Reigns struck him with a chair to the back and cleared him from the ring.
Vince McMahon’s music played and he walked onto the stage with a mic. Vince said he was going to sue the city of New York, and he’d sue all the fans if he could as well. Vince recalled questioning how long Reigns would be champion. He said he now has the answer. Vince announced Reigns vs. Sheamus in a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match for the first Raw of 2016. Vince then named himself the special referee. Vince closed the show by saying “Happy New Year” ten times…
Powell’s POV: The big positive is that they finally took the time to hype something meaningful for the following Raw in a meaningful way. It wasn’t just a quick graphic that was forgotten about, it was Vince McMahon making the big announcement at the end of the show. It was a nice way to wash away the bad taste of a predictable main event finish away while giving viewers something to look forward to next week. Overall, a decent show with some matches and segments that overstayed their welcome, presumably due to the split roster with part of the crew working the house show in Allentown tonight. I will have more to say in tonight’s member exclusive audio show and in Tuesday’s WWE Raw Hit List. Happy New Year (ten times).
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