Monday Night Raw – January 2, 2017: I Love it When WWE Trolls Us

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 2, 2017
Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves

Welcome to the new year and welcome to the official Road to Wrestlemania. It’s a stacked show this week with three matches announced, including a Last Man Standing match between Braun Strowman and Sami Zayn. On top of that we have the return of Goldberg, which will be followed by the return of Brock Lesnar next week. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Mick Foley, who has lost a lot of hair to go with his weight loss, to open the show. After showing us that he wrote the name of the town on the back of his hand to avoid any further issues, here are Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho to talk about the shark cage. Owens has to say Jericho is being hung up like a sexy pinata before ripping into Foley for giving Roman Reigns another title shot.

Jericho laments Foley putting him in the Cage of Jericho “and locking me in man.” For some reason, this makes Foley want to see the Kevin Owens Show tonight, featuring Goldberg as the first guest. Jericho accuses Foley of abusing his power so here’s Stephanie McMahon to cut them off.

Tonight, Reigns is defending the US Title against Jericho and if Roman is counted out or disqualified, the title changes hands. Stephanie brings up the ratings loss last week (STOP MAKING THAT A PLOT POINT!) so tonight it’s Owens vs. Rollins with the loser being banned from ringside for the US Title match.

Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins

Non-title. Owens bails to the floor to start and takes back to back suicide dives but the champ starts stomping away back inside. Seth gets two off a Blockbuster and we take a break. Back with Owens getting two off the backsplash and Cole repeating the stipulations, which doesn’t make me feel much better.

Rollins gets backdropped to the floor for a big crash but the Cannonball only hits the barricade. Back in and Rollins scores with an enziguri but has to get some blood back into his leg. The Sling Blade drops Owens again and Owens is sent outside where he hits Rollins with the bell for the DQ at 11:49.

Rating: C-. Sweet goodness they’ve beaten this feud into the ground and it’s completely worthless anymore. This was just going through the motions for about twelve minutes for the sake of determining that Owens will be banned from ringside in the main event. If that’s the best they can do for the World Champion, just give it to Reigns already so we can learn to get used to him all over again.

Karl Anderson vs. Cesaro

Sheamus is on commentary. They trade some big power shots to start with Cesaro getting the upper hand as you might expect. We take an early break and come back with Cesaro suplexing him down, giving us a discussion of how strong Cesaro is. Anderson kicks him in the chest so Cesaro uppercuts him in the chin over and over. This prompts a Paula Abdul reference from Saxton, which just makes me want to go watch some old MTV.

Cesaro climbs the corner for a twisting crossbody but a spinebuster gets two. Sheamus goes to the ring to deal with Gallows, prompting Graves to wonder why Sheamus wasn’t down there from the start. The running knee staggers Cesaro but he catches Anderson on the top. Sheamus goes after Gallows though and that knocks Cesaro off, setting up a top rope neckbreaker to give Anderson the pin at 10:50.

Rating: C. So to clarify: the team that lost over and over again to the champs are probably getting another shot at Cesaro and Sheamus who STILL can’t get along. This whole division has just died in the span of a few weeks since New Day lost the belts and it shows how worthless the division is anymore.

Recap of Sami Zayn vs. Braun Strowman.

Video on Goldberg vs. Lesnar plus Goldberg entering the Royal Rumble.

Sami Zayn vs. Braun Strowman

Last man standing, meaning Sami is about to die. Sami gets in a jab and tries some kendo stick shots but Braun just breaks it over his leg. Another stick gets about the same treatment and the moonsault off the barricade is pulled out of the air. A few rams into the post have Strowman staggered until he punches Sami to block the diving DDT. Some clotheslines drop Sami, whose offense is shrugged off over and over again.

Back with Sami being sent off the ramp as the match goes out of the arena, meaning the fans can’t see. As you might expect, this earns some widespread booing. Sami finally sends Braun into the equipment cases so Strowman throws him on top of them. Strowman THROWS A CASE AT HIM and thankfully it doesn’t cause a bad case of death.

Sami cracks him in the back with a chair as they stagger back into the arena. That just earns Zayn a toss onto the stage, followed by a whip into the screen. Zayn chairs him again and Braun is staggered, followed by a crossbody to put Strowman through some tables for a six count but Strowman is reeling.

Sami swings again but Braun grabs the chair and drags him up onto the ramp in another scary power display. The powerslam on the floor gives Braun a seven so Strowman just unloads on him with knees to the head and right hands. Another powerslam on the floor ends Sami at 15:48.

Rating: B. I had a lot more fun with this one than I was expecting to as they gave Sami all the offense they realistically could. It’s also a good sign that Strowman is rapidly getting the hang of wrestling like a monster instead of just standing around and doing power stuff. They beat the heck out of each other here and Strowman selling yet still shrugging the offense off was done quite well.

Sami does a stretcher job but Strowman turns it over.

Video on the Gentleman’s Duel from 205 Live.

Jack Gallagher gives New Day dueling lessons with umbrellas. The hip swivel doesn’t please Gallagher and he walks off.

Here’s New Day for their New Year’s Resolution. 2016 was a good year for them due to setting the Tag Team Title record so now they’re entering the Royal Rumble. Before they can announce their resolutions though, here’s Titus O’Neil doing the New Day entrance and throwing in some dancing. He thinks New Day needs a fourth member and even dances to his own whistle. Titus thinks he would look great on the cereal box but Woods thinks it should be on a milk carton. A match is set up and Titus punches Woods in the jaw.

Xavier Woods vs. Titus O’Neil

Woods kicks away at the legs to start but gets slammed right back down. We hit a chinlock for a bit as the announcers discuss Titus’ dancing abilities. Woods gets in some more kicks and low bridges O’Neil to the floor. The back to back backbreakers drop Woods but he grabs a sunset flip for the pin at 3:52.

Rating: C-. Not bad here but it felt like pure filler, which happens far too often on this show. Woods can go in the ring and I like the fact that he’s getting to show off his in ring skills. It’s not the worst match in the world either and Titus was somewhat entertaining with the New Day tryout.

Bayley comes in to talk to Stephanie about last week’s match against Charlotte. Stephanie never wanted Bayley on this show because she’s just a kid compared to a woman like Charlotte. Bayley says she doesn’t have the famous last name but she belongs here because she’s just who she is. That earns her a #1 contenders match against Nia Jax.

Cedric Alexander and Alicia Fox run into Noam Dar, who apologizes but hits on Alicia even more.

Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak

Gulak takes him down to start as the announcers talk about how tough Drew is for his lack of kneepads. Cedric gets in a quick dropkick to take over but Tony Nese goes after Alicia, setting up a rollup with trunks to give Gulak the pin at 2:25.

US Title: Roman Reigns vs. Chris Jericho

Owens is banned from ringside, Reigns is defending and loses the title if he gets counted out or disqualified. The champ runs Jericho over to start as the fans are split on Reigns. A middle rope dropkick gets two for Jericho so Reigns comes back with his string of clotheslines. Reigns tries the apron dropkick but crashes into the post instead, giving Jericho a near countout as we take a break.

Back with Reigns fighting out of a chinlock and hitting his modified belly to back suplex for two. The Superman Punch is blocked but the Lionsault hits knees. The other finishers are broken up until Jericho grabs the Walls. That lasts as long as you would expect the Walls to last until Jericho goes up top again, only to dive into the Superman Punch for a near fall.

Another spear is broken up and Jericho takes off a turnbuckle pad. That sets up the old Eddie Guerrero grab the belt and pretend to get hit with it spot. The referee doesn’t buy it so instead the Codebreaker gets two. Jericho goes into the exposed buckle and the spear retains the title at 13:06.

Rating: C+. The ending actually deflated me and that’s not a good thing about the top face on a show. There’s just no reason for Reigns to keep the title at this point and everyone has to know it at this point. He’s not helping the title and he doesn’t gain anything by holding it so why keep doing it this way? I mean, other than as a middle finger to the fans who want ANYONE else to hold the title.

TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick

Neville is watching in the back. Perkins gets two off an early dropkick but Kendrick snaps the throat across the top rope to take over. Back up and a hurricanrana off the top drops Kendrick. The Detonation Kick into the kneebar makes Kendrick tap at 2:39.

Video on the UK Title tournament.

Rusev/Jinder Mahal vs. Big Cass

This was supposed to be a tag match but Enzo is still injured. Cass fights them off without much effort to start before Jinder goes after Enzo. The distraction sets up a superkick from Rusev for the pin at 1:32.

Bayley vs. Nia Jax

Charlotte is on commentary and the winner gets the title shot at the Royal Rumble. Bayley’s headlock starts things off and she’s easily tossed around the ring with almost no effort. A cobra clutch has Bayley rag dolled around the ring until Bayley sends her shoulder first into the post. Another charge takes Bayley down though….and here’s Sasha for the distraction, setting up the super Bayley to Belly to pin Jax at 3:21.

Rating: D+. This was exactly what you would expect and there’s not much else to say about it. The commentary might as well have given away the finish before the match even started as they didn’t bring up the possibility of Charlotte vs. Nia until about fifteen seconds before the finish. At least Bayley won and wasn’t completely dead before the finish.

Undertaker and Shawn Michaels are here next week.

It’s time for the Kevin Owens Show with a lawn chair, a table and a man standing in place with a sign over his face. Owens introduces Jericho as his first guest and he’s not happy. See, the fans were chanting for Goldberg just a few minutes ago and that means TAMPA JUST MADE THE LIST.

Jericho has breaking news: he’s the third (sixth) entrant in the Royal Rumble! Owens isn’t pleased but Jericho says no matter what happens, they’re still the champ. Kevin still doesn’t want to do it but he gets cut off by Goldberg’s full entrance. Goldberg throws the chair out of the ring and Jericho isn’t impressed. Jericho: “You know what happens when you destroy the set?” Goldberg: “YEAH! Spear, Jackhammer.”

Owens throws out the rest of the set and the brawl is teased until Paul Heyman breaks it up. He says the Rumble will be elimination, repeat, elimination, repeat but Roman Reigns interrupts as well. That brings Reigns to Lesnar but now it’s Braun coming out to take the mic from a cowering Heyman. Owens and Jericho bail to the floor and Strowman is in the Rumble too. A double spear drops Strowman and posing ends the show.

Overall Rating: D+. This is a show where the length killed it. The show didn’t feel like it was going to be all that great in the first place but then it just kept going to drag it down even further. I’m thoroughly convinced that they’re intentionally ticking us off with the Reigns/Rollins/Owens/Jericho stuff at this point because there’s almost no way anyone could think it’s the best possible option. It’s not interesting, the wrestling isn’t great and it’s very stale. In other words, enjoy three more weeks’ worth of it. The last man standing match was good but it’s stuck in a never ending field of mediocrity that is Raw.


Seth Rollins b. Kevin Owens via DQ when Owens used the ring bell

Karl Anderson b. Cesaro – Top rope neckbreaker

Braun Strowman b. Sami Zayn when Zayn couldn’t answer the ten count

Xavier Woods b. Titus O’Neil – Sunset flip

Drew Gulak b. Cedric Alexander – Rollup with a handful of trunks

TJ Perkins b. Brian Kendrick – Kneebar

Rusev/Jinder Mahal b. Big Cass – Superkick

Bayley b. Nia Jax – Super Bayley to belly


Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book, KB’s Complete Monday Nitro and Thunder Reviews Volume V at Amazon for just $3.99 at:

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  1. Rob says:

    Two weeks in a row now KB, both Raw reviews with almost the exact same title…are you getting annoyed?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    No but I’m getting forgetful.

  2. Jay H (the real one) says:

    I rather enjoyed the visual of Goldberg and Roman Reigns.

    Cue a certain someone to tell us how awful it probably was and how much he hates women in 3.2.1

  3. #MrScissorsKick says:

    This is the first full WWE Raw show I have seen live since September 12, 2016. I’m sorry KB, I understand RAW is the flagship show, but I can honestly say that SmackDown is defiantly kicking RAW’s ass in terms of in-ring competition.

    Heyo Reply:

    Why are you apologizing for preaching to the choir? Seriously, nobody but Steph will argue with you on that.

  4. Ted says:

    So is reigns going to win the title at the rumble? Also how many more times can Jericho get a us title shot?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I think so, yeah. It’s just happening and we’re stuck with it.

    As many as it takes until we give up on everything.

    Ted Reply:

    I don’t get it. How many times must he get booed and mics turned down until they either repackage or shunt him down the card? He’s not the answer at least not like this. I actually think it’d be great for Jericho to win the us title as I think it’s one of the few he hasn’t won.

  5. james gracie says:

    Oh man how bad was that probably? LOL this show. So glad I don’t watch anymore.


  6. M.R. says:

    Brock, Taker and Shawn next week? Seems like someone may be concerned about those ratings.