Monday Night Raw – January 18, 2016: Not That It Matters (Maybe)

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 18, 2016
Location: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Byron Saxton

It’s the go home show for the Royal Rumble and that can make for a slower night of Raw. The big story from last week would seem to be Brock Lesnar being added to the Rumble to go after the WWE World Title. There’s no word on where Reigns might be coming in, which opens up some options for Sunday. As for tonight, Brock is the guest on Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel so let’s get to it.

Martin Luther King video. I don’t know why but they always do some kind of a tribute to this. It certainly deserves the attention but this seems like one of the most important days of the year to WWE.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Roman Reigns with something to say. Reigns talks about this Sunday being the fight of his life but tonight he only cares about Brock Lesnar. Instead he gets Chris Jericho, who Reigns is glad to see even though Jericho isn’t the man he wants right now. Lesnar will be on the Highlight Reel tonight though and Jericho wants Reigns to be there too. Reigns loves the idea but here’s the League of Nations to interrupt.

Sheamus wants to know when this Rumble became Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns. I’m thinking that was last week chum. The League is involved as well and they intend to take back that WWE World Title. Sheamus insults Jericho’s clothes so Chris gets in a weak insult about the mohawk. Del Rio brags about winning the Rumble a few years back but Jericho doesn’t feel like having him on the Highlight Reel either.

Rusev talks about rumbling every single day in Bulgaria but Jericho can’t understand him. Jericho asks Reigns who won the Rumble last year and who he eliminated to win. We get a “comes up short” joke from Jericho and a challenge is issued for right now. Apparently it’s Rusev vs. Reigns with Jericho as guest referee for no real reason.

Roman Reigns vs. Rusev

Non-title. Reigns grabs a headlock to start before firing off right hands. The League offers a quick distraction though and Rusev gets in a cheap shot to take over. That means it’s time for a chinlock though, followed by a nice spinwheel kick for two on the champ. Back from a break with Reigns trying a headbutt, only to get ground down with a headlock. JBL incorrectly says Rusev eliminated half a dozen people in his debut Rumble as I guess even he has tried to forget that worthless cameo in 2014.

Reigns fights back with the corner clotheslines, only to get kicked in the side of the head for a pretty slow two count. Rusev tries a super Samoan Drop but gets countered into a Batista Bomb for the same deliberate two. Del Rio offers a distraction so Sheamus can jump Roman from behind, but Jericho is actually smart and ejects Sheamus anyway. Barrett gets the same treatment and Jericho throws in a bonus cartwheel. In the melee, Reigns hits a quick Superman Punch and the spear for the pin at 13:55.

Rating: D+. This is another match that has been done to death and there’s almost no reason to watch it again. That’s the biggest problem with someone like Rusev: there’s no reason to believe he’s going to win a big match as all he has is the Accolade. Once people start breaking it, all the drama goes away. Not a bad match but really just a way to fill time.

Post break, Stephanie yells at Jericho for not having the authority to make that match. Jericho goes into his standard string of Stephanie insults but she cuts him off to say he insulted her by making the bigger Highlight Reel. Apparently this means she has to negotiate with Paul Heyman and owes Brock more money now. As usual, Stephanie manages to take something interesting and turn it boring.

Brie Bella vs. Natalya

Natalya brings out Paige as this is the Total Divas preview match. Even Cole calls it such. After a clip from the show of drama due to Alicia Fox unfollowing Paige on social media (the highest insult), we’re ready to go with Natalya hitting a quick basement dropkick. That earns her the BRIE MODE knee and a chinlock. Brie spends too long posing after the YES Kicks though and it’s a Sharpshooter to give Natalya the win at 1:30.

Wyatt Family vs. Dudley Boyz/Ryback

Why is this still a thing??? There was a tables match on Thursday where the Dudleys won, only to be put through tables after. We take a break before the bell, meaning the only thing shown between breaks was the entrances. This is joined in progress with Bubba suplexing Harper and doing some Dusty Rhodes punches, only to get kicked in the face. It’s off to Rowan vs. D-Von with the latter grabbing a neckbreaker.

That’s it for D-Von’s offense though as Rowan takes him into the corner so the Wyatts can take turns on him. Bubba starts playing cheerleader and it’s back to Rowan for the double fist head vice. We hit the chinlock from Harper for a few seconds before D-Von collides with Bray. That means a hot tag to Ryback for some house cleaning and everything breaks down. Ryback heads outside to stare down Strowman but gets decked by Wyatt. Rowan breaks up a 3D to Harper, allowing Luke to hit the discus lariat for the pin on Bubba at 6:42.

Rating: D+. Can we please get something for the Wyatts to do already? As in something they might actually win instead of being built up only to fall down again? I’m tired of seeing them beat up the Dudleyz as the matches have ranged from decent to boring and they’re getting lower and lower each time. I’m not sure why we’re seeing it again but I’m sure it’s due to them having nothing else to do. Not a bad match but it’s really hard to care at this point.

Big Show vs. Heath Slater

Before the match, the Social Outcasts promise to win on Sunday, though Axel says he can’t understand a word Rose says. Slater runs away from a big chop in the corner to start but is pulled back in by the hair. The KO Punch is good for the pin at 56 seconds.

The rest of the Outlaws are wiped out post match.

Stephanie gives the League of Nations a pep talk for the Royal Rumble.

Here are Vince and Stephanie to draw out the #1 entrant for the Royal Rumble. Vince brings up winning the 1999 Royal Rumble and Stephanie praises him for a bit. After a quick spin, Vince pulls out a ball and the #1 entrant is……..of course it’s Roman Reigns. Vince thinks that’s quite the coincidence so they pull another name and it’s…….Roman Reigns. They even draw it a third time and leaves Reigns’ name out, only to draw Reigns a third straight time. You had to know this was coming and it’s probably the right call.

Becky Lynch vs. Tamina

Charlotte and Ric are at ringside. Becky starts in with the strikes but charges into a superkick. We hit the early chinlock for a bit before a slam gets two on Becky. Lynch fights back with her usual strikes in the corner, followed by the running legdrops for two. The Disarm-Her makes Tamina tap at 4:04.

Rating: D. Tamina isn’t exactly the one you call on if you want an exciting match. At least Becky won and is getting a good push going into her title match on Sunday. It’s a lot better now that they’ve got an actual story going but the silence during this non-title match really isn’t the best sign.

Post match Becky asks for a Divas Title shot on Sunday but Charlotte says no. Becky gets smart by insulting Ric and saying Charlotte just isn’t like her dad. That’s enough for Flair, who accepts the challenge on his daughter’s behalf. Charlotte really doesn’t seem cool with that.

Kalisto/Dean Ambrose vs. Alberto Del Rio/Sheamus

Here’s your fifteen minute match designed to do nothing more than to kill fifteen minutes. Kevin Owens is on commentary to make this more entertaining. Ambrose pounds on Sheamus to start and it’s quickly off to Kalisto, who is slammed down onto Sheamus for two. Del Rio is sent to the floor and we take a break.

Back with Sheamus hammering on Kalisto in the corner until the masked man jawbreaks his way out of a chinlock. The hot tag brings in Ambrose to start speeding things up, including a suicide dive to take out Del Rio. Dean gets in trouble again though as Sheamus gets two off an Irish Curse.

Del Rio gets the same off a kick to the head and it’s time for some choking on the ropes. A Backstabber stops Dean’s latest comeback but the top rope double stomp is broken up by something like an armdrag. Owens hopes Ambrose hurt himself but Dean is fine enough for a big clothesline to Sheamus and a hot tag to Kalisto.

A headscissors and the rolling kick to the head have Sheamus in trouble and Kalisto stumbles into a tornado DDT. The Salida Del Sol gets two with Del Rio making the save. Dean takes him to the floor and gets kicked in the face, leaving Sheamus to Brogue Kick Kalisto for the pin at 13:20.

Rating: C+. The match picked up a lot near the end until the really stupid booking took over. This is a place where a countout or something would have worked well, or just have Kalisto get another upset pin over Sheamus. It’s not like pins mean anything on Sunday so just do it here and give me another reason to be interested in Kalisto. Or have him look like someone in over his head and take away some of the hype for Sunday. Same thing right?

We recap the opening segment.

Clips of the India tour.

We look at Jericho breaking Xavier Woods’ trombone last week.

Earlier today, there was a funeral for Francesa the Trombone. Big E. starts quoting Jay Z. and Woods loses it. Kofi offers to get a new trombone but that’s too much so soon. Francesca lives forever in Xavier’s heart and she would want Big E. to beat Jey Uso.

Here’s the annual All About The Numbers video.

30 entrants

28 Royal Rumble

811 people eliminations

42 eliminations by Kane, the most of all time

46 WWE Hall of Famers who have entered

8 Hall of Famers who have won

3 wins by Steve Austin

62:12 that Rey Mysterio lasted

1 second that Santino Marella lasted

2 straight wins Roman needs to retain

18 years since that happened

15 former World Champions on the roster

6 former Royal Rumble winners

1, as in the number that Reigns will enter the Rumble

Big E. vs. Jey Uso

Kofi and Xavier are in suits from the funeral. Big E. takes him down to start until Jey jumps over in the corner and starts dancing. A quick cross body gets two for Jey and they head outside, only to have Jey get backdropped on the floor as we take a break. Back with Jey in the abdominal stretch before he avoids the apron splash to send E. outside again.

The running Umaga Attack misses in the corner but Jey settles for a kick to the face for two instead. E. misses another charge and falls to the floor so Jey can nail a nice plancha. Back in and Woods offers a distraction to break up the Superfly Splash, allowing the Big Ending to give E. the win at 9:34.

Rating: D+. Not much to this one but at least the trombone stuff before the match was funny. It’s still not exactly entertaining or anything though as we’ve seen these guys fighting so many times now. The tag division needs some fresh blood and it’s not like there’s a team ready for the main roster down in NXT or anything.

Mark Henry, Titus O’Neil and R-Truth are in the back talking about the dream. Neville comes in and it’s a bit awkward.

The League is talking about something.

Mark Henry/Titus O’Neil/R-Truth vs. Stardust/Ascension/Tyler Breeze

All eight of these guys will be in the Royal Rumble. Titus throws Viktor around to start and it’s quickly off to Neville vs. Stardust with the latter dancing for some reason. Mark comes in and runs Stardust over before Truth comes in to work on a hammerlock. There’s a hiptoss to Stardust but Breeze kicks Truth off the apron to take over.

It’s quickly back to Konnor for an elbow drop but Truth grabs a DDT to absolutely no reaction. Neville and Breeze come in to speed things up with Neville throwing him down and getting two off the standing shooting star. Everything breaks down and the World’s Strongest Slam to Breeze sets up the Red Arrow for the pin at 6:11.

Rating: D+. I know it’s too late for Breeze (you know, three months after he debuted on the main roster) but Konnor and Viktor aren’t available to take that pin? Yeah I’m not even going to bother getting annoyed at this one. WWE has decided Breeze isn’t worth investing in on the main roster and that’s about it for him.

It’s time for the Highlight Reel with Jericho introducing his guests but being cut off by Heyman. Jericho cuts off Heyman’s signature lines and asks where Lesnar is. Brock will indeed be here tonight but Heyman would rather talk about what happened the last time Jericho and Lesnar were in the same ring together.

Jericho gets back to the Rumble though and asks why Heyman tried to get Lesnar straight to the main event of Wrestlemania. Could it be that Brock has developed so many enemies that Heyman doesn’t think he’s a lock to win again? Heyman laughs it off and plugs the Network by saying people subscribe to see Brock fight any one man so why wouldn’t you subscribe to see him fight everyone at once. Jericho suggests that he’ll throw Brock out and here’s Lesnar for a rebuttal.

Before anything can be said or done though, here’s Roman just like he promised. We get the big showdown as Jericho steps to the side and Reigns spears the heck out of Lesnar. Before anything else can happen though, Lesnar has to deal with the League of Nations, allowing Roman to spear Lesnar down again. Cue the Wyatts and the numbers get the better of Reigns but Brock sends the Family after Lesnar. They circle Brock and get in a shot apiece with Sister Abigail’s Kiss leaving Brock laying to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. This is always a tricky show to grade as it’s certainly not about the wrestling. The show before the Royal Rumble is about setting up the battle royal and they did that well enough, though they’re making no secret that it’s mainly about Reigns vs. Lesnar. The problem with that is any major surprises can completely change the course of the Rumble so a lot of this might not matter. At least we got some build to the rest of the show, but Sunday is a one match show and the build for that was ok at best. Not a great show but it did enough of what it was supposed to do.


Roman Reigns b. Rusev – Spear

Natalya b. Brie Bella – Sharpshooter

Big Show b. Heath Slater – KO Punch

Becky Lynch b. Tamina – Disarm-Her

Sheamus/Alberto Del Rio b. Kalisto/Dean Ambrose – Brogue Kick to Kalisto

Big E. b. Jey Uso – Big Ending

Neville/Titus O’Neil/R-Truth/Mark Henry b. Stardust/Tyler Breeze/Ascension – Red Arrow to Breeze

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book of the History of Wrestlemania at Amazon for just $3.99 at:

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  1. Jay H (the real one) says:

    I had a feeling that Roman Reigns would get the #1 entry into the Royal Rumble and you know what it works. My question is where does Brock Lesnar come in if not #2 I guess he book ends it at #30. I also predict AJ Styles will be making his debut on Sunday.

    Greg Reply:

    Is AJ really well known enough for something like that? I’d go with no.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    The show is in Orlando. If there’s any crowd that’s going to know him, it’s this one.

    Isaiah Morrow Reply:

    Check the Internet, AJ Styles contract doesn’t start until post Rumble Raw. He might have a small role im the Rumble, he ain’t winning it or is even getting close to the end though.

  2. ted says:

    Yay I get to watch Reigns desperate attempt to be ric flair on Sunday. Without the charisma or ability.

  3. james gracie says:

    Oh man how bad was that? Well the WWE had 2 good weeks and I gave them a chance. I let them off the hook the last few weeks. But WWE is hopeless at this point. There is no reason to get behind any character cause everyone is booked horribly. Stop and start pushes, 50/50 booking and everyone looking like chumps in the name of Stephanie and the Authority means no one gets over and no one on the current roster looks like a star except Lesnar and Cena.

    And RAWs mini good run ended when they FUCKING BROUGHT BACK THE MC-FUCKING-MAHONS! Stephanie just had to be involved in the main angle again and kill it dead.

    The only way this is salvageable is to hope that Daniel Bryan’s injury is just a work(like Cena in 2008) and have him enter but get tossed by Lesnar at the end, setting up Lesnar vs Bryan at Mania. I mean why the fuck not? This Reigns push is NOT WORKING Vince. So fucking get off your Viagra and please lose your hard on for Reigns!

    Awful show tonight and how is that Divas Revolution going again? Man I called that being a failure the first week they pushed that stupid hashtag and like always I was right. What a joke WWE is. And worst of all, New Day can no longer save us. It’s over. #VinceIsSoftAndOutOfTouch #FireStephanie #SaveUsDanielBryan #LOLDivasRevolution #OhManHowBadWasThat

  4. klunderbunker says:

    I’ve learned to rarely trust the internet on things like that. I’m not saying AJ is showing up, but it’s a possibility.

  5. Dragon says:

    Jericho and Bray Wyatt seemed to be the only ones to express the importance and desire to be in the Rumble. If this is going to be the biggest WM they need at least one established name in main event and not a couple that are hot shotted into main event and forced down fans’ throats. I could see something shocking like Chris Jericho wins Royal Rumble and faces Undertaker at WM? I have heard of worse options. Others to consider could be:
    Wyatt v.s Brock, Reigns v.s. HHH, Sting vs Wyatt (but I wouldn’t want to see Sting lose 3 in a row), Rock v.s. Reigns, This could be an exciting time for the E as long as they don’t go the predictable route. Predictable is ok as long as it is entertaining and that is something Roman Reigns is not……….yet.

    Greg Reply:

    With the story they are doing, this wouldn’t make much sense.

    Replace the word predictable with logical.

    Sting still needs surgery (also he did win that tag match). Rock vs Reigns wouldn’t work. Reigns would be booed, very very very badly.

    Dragon Reply:

    I agree with your points…..I was just throwing out some ideas I wouldn’t mind seeing as a fan. (and I wouldn’t care if Reigns was booed.) As a critic or “internet booker” my thinking would be different. There is a logical way the show will progress but as a fan I am currently finding the product boring and predictable.

    ted Reply:

    Reigns is getting booed no matter what.

    So could someone explain to me how or why Reigns is the next big thing, When he gets no reaction and when he takes down Brrrrrrrrrrrooock LLLLLLLESsnar twice. He gets very little to no reaction. I mean they gave it a shot but it’s not working and the fact that he have to be careful who they put him with for fear of getting booed. To me means, you find a different guy who will get cheered no matter who you put him with. It would also help if you used a guy the audience liked, and it’s not like that is in short supply. Rather than who you tell them they like. It just seems like so much more work to force a square peg into a round hole.

    Greg Reply:

    The crowds at the past few Raws haven’t been good. Honestly no one but Brock got much of a reaction (lackluster product and three hours also don’t help). Reigns does get cheered. In a smark town, he’ll get booed. Reigns is very simple. He is a badass who will kill you. If they would just book him as such (attacking Lesnar I thought was a great move), he’d get cheered way more. It’s not a case anymore of them shoving a guy who isn’t ready into the main event, it’s a case of them trying to book him as something he isn’t. However, they have gotten much better at booking him lately and down the road, it will payoff. The crowd reaction when he beat Sheamus was great. Just be patient.

    Put Ambrose, Ziggler (okay, maybe not recently) or any popular guy against Lesnar and they will probably get some boos. Why? Cause Lesnar is just a beast. He throws people around. It’s fun to watch. Put anyone against Rock and they have a high chance of being booed. Everyone else can be put against Reigns without much of a problem.

    Ah. My bad.

    Jay H (the real one) Reply:

    Ted what are you talking about? Reigns has been cheered quite a bit lately more than he’s been booed. Not sure what you are listening to.

    And I see our old pal James Gracie is back to his old self. I knew that wouldn’t last long.

    ted Reply:

    @ jay H

    The show you know raw? The one where Reigns isn’t getting much of a reaction. Did you hear the ovation when Reigns took Lesnar down? Twice?


    “Reigns does get cheered. In a smark town, he’ll get booed. Reigns is very simple. He is a badass who will kill you.”

    He does not get cheered nearly often enough to justify where he’s at.

    Also he’s not a badass. He’s a smirking jackass who thinks he’s to cool for school. Like I said partially the company’s fault for booking him as such. Partially his fault for not being very good.

    ” It’s not a case anymore of them shoving a guy who isn’t ready into the main event,”

    Yes it is

    ” . However, they have gotten much better at booking him lately”

    No they haven’t. Though to be completely fair. They don’t seem to know how to book anybody lately.

    “and down the road, it will payoff.”

    The wait and see is a cop out answer. It’s not like he just showed up last week. He’s been groomed for this spot for over a year. How long before you just say it doesn’t work and you go with something that does? What does Reigns do that no other wrestler on the roster can do? look pretty? Be related to the rock? I’m not trying to be contrary I really want to understand this.

    “The crowd reaction when he beat Sheamus was great”

    Yes it took over a year of Reigns going over every main guy on the roster and stopping a guy no one wanted to see as champion in the first place to get cheered. Bravo. Then a week later it’s back to getting slightly cheered and then booed the second anyone with more charisma or ability is put against him. To quote zoolander ” Doesn’t anyone notice this I feel like i’m taking crazy pills.”

    Is there anyone you want to See Reigns see main event wrestlemania with? No not really. I’d like to see Owens, Lesnar, Lesnar, bryan, Cena, Taker, Those seem like big deals. Reigns wrestling does not scream big deal to me and fans seem to agree.

    Does no one see that he is at best slightly more over from January 2015 to now? I mean Reigns somehow managed to get more booed at the royal rumble than Batista the year before. Gets booed again at fast line and wrestlemania. Spends the rest of year fighting for an uphill battle not to be booed, when wrestling 3 quarters of the roster. Is seen as boring and artificially shoved into a spot he really isn’t ready or qualified for. And because the wwe says it’s a successes when he wins the title it all of a sudden is? Why don’t you roll over so they can stomp on the other side of your face? How many more towns does he have to get booed in before it sticks in that. No he’s not being booed by “smark towns ” a term I hate it’s not the town’s fault, it’s the company’s if they’re bored or not enjoying themselves” he’s being booed by most towns. How many more boring matches? cringe worthy promos? and all together boring presence do we have to sit through?

    I don’t hate the guy. I just can’t be the only one who noticed that he is not getting the desired result weekly.

    “Just be patient.” Yea that’s not how that works. I don’t learn to enjoy Reigns. It’s his job to entertain me. If he isn’t entertaining me and the other people who boo him. Then as said before you find someone else who does. This creates the double benefit of having a guy the people want to get behind/pay money to see. It also gets the crowd reactions you want in the first place.

    ” Put anyone against Rock and they have a high chance of being booed. Everyone else can be put against Reigns without much of a problem.”

    No they really can’t. I’m willing to bet just as an aside. Ziggler, The new day, Jericho, Neville, Owens, kalisto, Randy orton, Seth Rollins, John Cena, Triple H, Undertaker, Dean Ambrose, Ceasro, even Zack ryder would be cheered against Reigns. Why because Reigns push just seems so manufactured. well he ticks the boxes so whatever go for it. It’s more you should like him, rather than choosing to like him on your own.

  6. CrazySole says:

    I reckon the ending sets up the Wyatt family to dominate the Rumble only for Lesnar to enter and send them to Suplex City and ultimately eliminate them.

    My rumble wishlist is to see HHH eliminate Reigns and Bryan to enter at no. 30 and win

  7. Dark Grin says:

    I cringed when the Wyatts went after Brock. I now see Brock destroying all of them in a gauntlet type match at WM. This group will NEVER do anything that matters.

    And I’m beginning to believe that we will see the return of Daniel Bryan. Cuz if the top 2 matches at WM are Reigns/HHH and Brock/Wyatt(s), this is going to be the biggest WM flop of all time.

    Greg Reply:

    Daniel Bryan’s return is not based off the product. He will return the moment he is cleared.