Monday Night Raw – January 4, 2016: One vs. All

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 4, 2016
Location: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Byron Saxton

It’s the first Raw of the year and we’re starting with a bang. Tonight we’re seeing the rematch between Roman Reigns and Sheamus for Roman’s WWE World Title with Vince McMahon as the guest referee. It’s also time to keep going towards the Royal Rumble as we’ve got less than three weeks to go. Let’s get to it.

We open with another long recap of Reigns vs. Vince to set up tonight’s title defense.

Here’s Stephanie to get things going but Roman Reigns cuts her off on the way to the ring. Reigns laughs off Stephanie’s annoyance and calls Vince out. Vince isn’t here yet and Stephanie goes into her degrading voice about how this isn’t Roman’s night. Roman says that title is his life and his family because without it he can’t provide for his wife and daughter.

This amuses Stephanie even more as she rips on the fans for having so much false hope, just like Reigns. Stephanie says you can’t keep a good billionaire down and promises to destroy Roman tonight. After he loses the title, she’s going to work him all around the country until he drops. Then the fans are going to forget about him and move on, just like they did with Roman’s father Sika. Not really Steph, not really. Roman threatens to send Vince to the hospital and Stephanie finally shuts up.

We look back at Kevin Owens’ path of rage (and his loss) from last week.

Brock Lesnar is back next week.

Neville vs. Kevin Owens

Ambrose is on commentary. Neville has taped up ribs and quickly sends Kevin outside for a flip dive. Owens gets knocked across the ring and out to the floor on the outside, setting up a shooting star from the top. Back in and Owens gets smart by kicking Neville in the ribs and plants him with a hanging DDT out of the corner. Neville gets dumped out to the floor and we take a break.

Back with Neville still on the floor and missing his rib tape. He dives back in to beat the count at nine but Owens sends him back outside and hard into the barricade. Neville kicks him in the face to get a breather and busts out a sweet 450 off the apron. They head back in with Neville going up top, only to get crotched down for a Cannonball. The Pop Up Powerbomb ends Neville at 9:45.

Rating: B. I had a lot of fun with this thing as they were just beating the tar out of each other for the entire time they were out there. This was exactly what they needed to do last week with Neville looking awesome (including some fresh stuff) but Owens looking like a killer at the same time. Really well done here.

Post match Owens goes after Neville again but Ambrose dives on him to make the save. Owens loads up the announcers’ table again but Dean takes over and drives him through the table with an elbow drop. Dean tells Owens that all he has to do is ask for a shot.

Vince arrives and finds it ironic that last week he was on the wrong side of the law but tonight he is the law.

Stardust vs. Titus O’Neil

So this is still a thing. Titus chops him HARD in the corner to start until the Disaster kick puts him down. Stardust slowly stomps away in the corner as well and we hit the chinlock. The fans start chanting CODY to freak Stardust out, allowing Titus to come back with a big clothesline. A big boot in the corner and the Clash of the Titus puts Stardust away at 4:26.

Rating: D. Pretty lame match but when is the last time you saw a random midcard match with no interference and a clean winner? I like what I see with Titus and he could be fine as a midcard act if you give him more of a character aside from doing a dog bark. Nothing to see here, other than the total collapse of Stardust.

Becky Lynch is getting ready when Charlotte comes up. Apparently Charlotte isn’t happy that they’re having a match tonight but they pinky shake anyway. Ric Flair comes in and WOO’s.

Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch

Non-title. Becky gets sent into the corner to start but grabs some armdrags to frustrate Charlotte. They hit the ropes with Becky nipping up and Charlotte cartwheeling into a standoff. Charlotte flips over in the corner but dives through the ropes into a rollup for two. Becky throws her down again but helps Charlotte up, only to take a HARD chop. Charlotte drops some knees until we take a break.

Back with Charlotte doing her figure four neck flips, which she really should bring back. Becky dives out of the corner but gets caught in midair, only to spin around into a sleeper. That earns her a backwards drop onto the mat for the break but Becky makes her comeback with clotheslines and a leg lariat. There’s a t-bone suplex for two on the champ but Ric grabs Becky’s leg. It doesn’t work this time as Becky rolls her up and grabs the trunks for the pin at 8:50.

Rating: C+. Good match here that felt more like an NXT match than a WWE match. The ending really didn’t need the trunks involved but at least Becky got a big win to likely set up the title match at the Rumble. I could use less Ric in this whole thing but at least they’re getting somewhere with an actual title feud.

Post match Charlotte goes full heel (for real this time) and destroys Becky while Ric struts.

Sheamus comes in to see Vince, who implies he’ll call it down the line. May the luck of the Irish be with you.

Ryback vs. Big Show

Ryback is officially in the Rumble. Show chops him into the corner to start but misses a charge, allowing Ryback to hit a quick clothesline. Ryback calls to finish it thirty seconds in, only to walk into a chokeslam. Show throws Ryback over the top….and we’ve got Wyatts. They surround Ryback so he goes after Harper, only to get quadruple teamed. That’s not very nice of Ryback. They might have wanted to sell him some Girl Scout Cookies. We’ll say the match ended at about 1:15.

Strowman chokes Ryback out as Big Show just watches. Now the Wyatts circle the ring and go after the giant. Show knocks Bray, Harper and Rowan down but spends too much time staring at Strowman, allowing the swarm to take him down. Bray says they are the four horsemen of the apocalypse and everyone will fall. The other three do an upside down Horsemen gesture.

Alberto Del Rio/Rusev vs. Usos

Hokey smoke the Usos are in different color gear. I could get used to this, but it means I can’t just pick a random name and say they’re starting. Jimmy and Del Rio get things going with Alberto eating an early clothesline. Rusev gets double clotheslined but the heels take over on Jey with Rusev driving him into the corner. A wicked overhead belly to belly sends Jey flying and we take a break.

Back with Jey trying a comeback on Rusev but missing an enziguri. Del Rio kicks him hard in the back and it’s off to Rusev for a chinlock. Jey finally fights up with a Samoan drop and makes the tag off to Jimmy as things speed up. A kick to the face gets two and there’s an enziguri to stagger Del Rio even more.

Jimmy goes up but gets crotched down but the top rope double stomp misses (thank goodness). The superkick and Superfly splash get a VERY close two on Del Rio with Rusev diving in for the save at the last second. Jey dives through the ropes to take Rusev out but lands on a raised boot. Back in and Del Rio kicks Jey in the head to tie him in the ropes, setting up the top rope double stomp for the pin at 13:25.

Rating: B-. Fun match here but I’m getting a bit bored with the fairly long midcard tag match of the week. They’re entertaining and the time could have been used for far worse things, but these things are getting harder to get hyped for. It doesn’t help that these two aren’t the most interesting teams in the world, though the action was good. Quality, but not exactly entertaining here.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Heath Slater

Ziggler is officially in the Rumble. Slater comes out with Adam Rose, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas, all of whom have apparently been tweeting about change all day. Ziggler gets some early rollups and small packages for two each, followed by that dropkick of his. Slater chokes a bit and throws Ziggler down by the hair. That goes nowhere and Ziggler tries a superkick but has to go after Rose. Slater grabs a rollup and gets the big upset at 4:41.

Rating: D. Sure why not. Ziggler is going to be in the exact same place no matter what he does and a loss to Heath Slater isn’t going to change a thing for him. It’s not like these guys are doing anything else so why not throw them together into a nothing midcard stable. I doubt it lasts past the Rumble but it’s better than having them on the roster for no apparent reason.

Post match Slater says he’s found some friends. Rose gets way too excited about the four of them being flowers. Axel goes on about the chains being off and Dallas says it’s all about getting back up. Slater caps it off by saying they’re trending worldwide despite being social outcasts. That sounds like the team name.

Ambrose is defending the Intercontinental Title against Owens on Smackdown. On the same show, Lynch will be challenging for the Divas Title.

Vince comes in to see Reigns and tells him not to cheat tonight. Reigns seems uneasy.

Here’s New Day for a chat. Big E. promises to make this the greatest year of all time and they’ll start by beating up the Dudley Boyz and Kalisto like they were Mike Tyson falling off a hoverboard. We get a reenactment of Tyson falling and now it’s time for a countdown. The ten count gets down to three and BREAK DOWN THE WALLS!

Yes Chris Jericho is back and declares himself as the party host for the night. He’s here to save the WWE one more time, sixteen years after he debuted. Woods isn’t pleased because the New Day has already saved this company through the power of positivity. Now it’s time for Jericho to not be impressed because the unicorn horns are stupid.

Jericho says he’s back to bring some life to this place and he’s sorry that we had to sit through five minutes of Green Day and rootie tootie. Big E.: “WHO ARE YOU CALLING ROOTIE TOOTIE?????” The fans get in on the chant until Jericho announces his entrance in the Royal Rumble. The Y2J problem is back and the WWE will never EVER be the same again.

Dudley Boyz/Kalisto vs. New Day

Woods and Kalisto start but Xavier wants Bubba. That’s fine with Bubba and Woods actually stays in the ring. A chop has no effect on Bubba and it’s time for a ROOTIE TOOTIE chant. It’s off to Kofi who is immediately caught in a very delayed vertical suplex. JBL: “Put the unicorn down.” D-Von comes in and sends everyone to the floor, allowing Bubba to throw Kalisto out on top of everybody.

Back from a break with Bubba in trouble but avoiding a splash in the corner. That allows a tag off to Kalisto but it’s quickly time for the Unicorn Stampede. Woods slaps on a chinlock and the Warrior splash gives Big E. a near fall. Kalisto avoids another charge and makes the tag off to D-Von as everything breaks down. Bubba cleans house and Kalisto is driven into the barricade. A quick save keeps Kofi out of What’s Up and the Midnight Hour puts D-Von away at 16:40.

Rating: C+. Another fun match here and I’m glad it was D-Von taking the fall here. Kalisto is getting a chance to look like a big deal and it would have really been a waste to have him lose here. It’s also cool to see New Day win a six man for a change as they lose these things way more often than they should. Good stuff here.

Here’s the same recap that opened the show. Dude cut that out. You can do it in about a fourth of the time. Stop eating up so much of the show.

WWE World Title: Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus

Reigns is defending and Vince is guest referee. Sheamus jumps him to start and gets a pretty quick two count. A hard Irish (of course) whip gets two for Sheamus but Reigns comes back with the corner clotheslines. Another clothesline puts both guys on the floor for no count as Vince doesn’t want Sheamus winning the match without the title. Sheamus gets in a shot with the steps but Vince wasn’t paying attention as we take a break.

Back with Sheamus getting two off the Regal roll but Reigns comes back with his array of clotheslines. The Samoan drop gets a VERY delayed two and the fans boo Vince out of the building. White Noise is countered into a sitout powerbomb for another two but Vince has something in his eye. Vince: “I NEED SOME EYEDROPS!”

Now it’s a Superman punch to knock Sheamus silly but Vince just won’t count. Reigns finally Superman punches Vince and spears Sheamus before calling for another referee. With nothing else to do, Reigns throws Sheamus outside and over the announcers’ table. Vince gets up so Reigns throws him back down and yells a lot.

Frustration gets the better of Roman and he grabs Vince with the fans chanting for the table. Cue a power walking Stephanie to get on the apron so Reigns throws Vince into the ropes, bringing Stephanie inside. She bails to the floor as Reigns loads up a spear to Vince but eats a Brogue kick. A second one knocks Reigns out but Vince is slow to count (looked like a missed cue). Crooked referee Scott Armstrong comes in to count two. Reigns blocks another Brogue with a Superman punch and spears Sheamus down to retain at 18:20.

Rating: C+. Well it told a good story and Vince continues to be one of the best performers in the world. They actually had me believing they might change the title here which says a lot given that we’re less than three weeks away from the Rumble and it was Sheamus. Solid stuff here and they’re on a roll with the storytelling all over again.

Post match Vince says Reigns is going to defend the WWE World Title again at the Royal Rumble. Reigns keeps saying one vs. all so that’s exactly what he’s going to get. At the Royal Rumble, Reigns will defend his title against twenty nine other men in the Royal Rumble match.

Overall Rating: B-. This was another good show and you can see the effort involved. They’ve reached the point where they have to start putting in some effort for the Rumble and ensuing Wrestlemania season and it’s already starting to pay off. The shows aren’t great or anything but they’re so far ahead of what they were doing just a month ago. Good show here and hopefully a sign of a hot Rumble and Wrestlemania build.


Kevin Owens b. Neville – Pop Up Powerbomb

Titus O’Neil b. Stardust – Clash of the Titus

Becky Lynch b. Charlotte – Rollup with a handful of trunks

Ryback b. Big Show via DQ when the Wyatt Family interfered

Alberto Del Rio/Rusev b. Usos – Top rope double stomp to Jey

Heath Slater b. Dolph Ziggler – Rollup

New Day b. Dudley Boyz/Kalisto – Midnight Hour to D-Von

Roman Reigns b. Sheamus – Spear

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  1. M.R. says:

    Why not have the Rumble on the 31st rather than compete against a Conference Championship game?

    Jay H (the real one) Reply:

    Why does it matter? The PPVs on are The Network now for the most part anyway.

    I like the idea of the WWE Title being on the line in the Royal Rumble itself. I actually heard that idea pitched on a Podcast last week.

    M.R. Reply:

    Why does it matter? Maybe so that people that enjoy real sports get the chance to watch the Rumble as well?

    Jay H (the real one) Reply:

    Then do both. Ive done it since The Network launched.

    M.R. Reply:

    The point is having the Rumble going up against the largest sport in America’s second biggest day makes little sense when they have an open weekend the following week.

    ted Reply:

    So not only do you insult the product I assume you watch by calling the opposition “real sports”. You also make an argument that makes no sense as it’s on the network and thus can be watched whenever you like.

    M.R. Reply:

    Much like the real sports I watch, I prefer to watch wrestling pay per views live.

  2. Heyo says:

    So wait, whoever wins the Rumble wins the title?

    Huh. Surprising that they picked NOW of all times to do it again, but it’s an interesting stipulation, so why the hell not.

    beckett929 Reply:

    “now” really is interesting. They spent so much effort getting Roman over, and he is, but to pull the rug out from under him so quickly feels short-sighted.

    That said, its almost like everyone’s first run with the belt is short-lived. Without digging into numbers Edge, Punk, Del Rio, Swagger, Orton, and Bryan if I remember correctly all had relatively short runs the first time, like its a trial run.

  3. did not see the end – what does it mean that Reigns is in the Rumble defending against 29 other men? So last man standing in the Rumble is the new champ? then who gets to be #1 contender?

    M.R. Reply:

    No number one contender will be decided.

    Your Eternal Reward Reply:

    Well no one becomes #1 contender. The winner gets the WWE Championship. They will decide the #1 contender later on.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I’d assume at Fast Lane.

  4. Ted says:

    I don’t know if it’s me but every time I see reigns wrestle I nearly fa asleep. I don’t know if it’s because he’s westing sheamus or not. But the guy is just boring. Is reigns seriously going to win his second rumble while being champion? Well they’re sticking with it I’ll give them that. I just wish I could be more engaged with the guy.

  5. Darth_Phoenix says:

    Was it really the best hey could do was have Jericho repeat lines from his.debut and make bad jokes? I love Jericho as much as the next fan but that just felt uninspired and copy/pasted. Felt like he expected some of the jokes to come off better and Give the guy something to work with.

  6. Your Eternal Reward says:

    With this new Social Outcasts it makes me think .Imagine if the writers actually bothered making feuds.

    Say Curits Axel wants to win the IC again to be like his dad. Ambrose and Owens are the main feud so Axel and say Ziggler go at it. Eventually Ambrose retains against Owens and moves into a feud with Axel since he beat Ziggler.

    Then Slater is a real American. He ends up facing off and beating Swagger. By now Cena has forgotten about the US title and Slater ends up facing Del Rio for the US title. Then the League of Nations if they still exist get into a minor feud with Social Outcasts over the US title.

    Then the tag titles. New Day are taking on the Dudleys or Uso. League of Nations and Social Outcasts spill over to the tag division. Bo Dallas and Adam Rose beat i dunno Del Rio and Rusev with help from Axel and Slater after Del Rio gets the shits with Rusev and walks out.

    New Day end up facing the Social Outcasts but despite the 4 on 3 numbers advantage still ends up on top.

    But having an actual mid card could never happen in this day and age….

  7. rampah says:

    So, the title is on zhe line in the rumble match?

    I like that idea, the last rumbles were becoming boring, mostly because of the predictable outcome.

    If Reigns doesn’t simply wins it again and retains, this can lead to a lot of fun. Imagine him getting in from #1, #2 or at least very early and then be tossed out in the middle of the match.
    Or him lasting towards the last entrants, only to have Bryan’s or Lesnar’s music hit. I know, Bryan is injured and all, but it wouldn’t be the first time, when a comeback from a former injured wrestler would occur in the rumble (I remember Cena doing it once in New York).

    Anyway, a smart move after the mess in the last three years. This gives them a lot of interesting and entertaining options and while I don’t think it will top the epic Flair rumble, it surely has me excited for the match.

    greg Reply:

    Bryan has concussion problems. Those are not like normal injuries. I don’t expect him to ever wrestle for WWE again at this point. Way different from what Cena did.

    I think Roman will last to the end and get beat. Tossing him out early would be a swerve for the sake of a swerve. It wouldn’t fit the story. I assume Lesnar will win and we’ll have a repeat of the main event from Wrestlemania 31.

    rampah Reply:

    Maybe there is a tiny percentage, that Bryan’s injury isn’t as bad as the WWE doctors say it is. But I guess you’re right, if it has anything to do with concussions they can’t let him in.

    With the Cena injury, that leads to a serious lack of star power now.
    Orton, Rollins, Cena, Bryan could win it but are all injured.

    That pretty much leaves them Reigns or Lesnar, unless they do something really odd, like putting old guys in the mix (Undertaker, Sting, HHH). I can’t imagine, they give the belt to Sheamus again or anyone for the first time (like Ambrose for example), considering they go into WM.

    greg Reply:

    The only other match Reigns can do is vs HHH. However that leaves Lesnar free (bet they wish they didn’t do Taker vs Lesnar at HIAC now). I can see them having Reigns vs HHH at Fast Lane with a title shot at Mania on the line.

  8. Dragon says:

    You know, I am a fan of Reigns but I can sum up the last couple weeks of his run in one word. Forced. It seems like they are trying to recreate Austin/McMahon but its hard to take Reigns seriously when he has that goofy smile on his face. If WWE forces it too much they may find themselves dangerously close to having Reigns receive the same reaction at this years rumble as last years. Especially will guys like Jericho, Lesnar, and other “returnees” in the mix.