Monday Night Raw
Date: January 23, 2017
Location: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
It’s the go home show for the Royal Rumble and that’s the best thing that could happen right now. The build has taken quite a long time and it would be a good idea to get us done with the show so we can move on to the build towards Wrestlemania. It would also help to know what we can expect from the biggest show of the year. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Roman Reigns losing the US Title two weeks back.
Here’s Reigns to open things up with the shark cage in the ring with him. Reigns says in six days, 40,000 people are going to pack the Alamo Dome when he wins the Universal Title. This brings out Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho with the former talking about all the people Reigns has powerbombed through the announcers’ table. Owens is the only person to powerbomb him back and Jericho talks about being stuck in the cage like a sexy salami in a deli. This leads to Reigns wanting his rematch for the US Title tonight and Owens accepts on Jericho’s behalf. Owens throws in a psychic prediction: tonight it’s Reigns locked in that cage.
Cesaro vs. Luke Gallows
Join us as we continue the theory of “let’s have four guys fight over and over and over and then expect people to want to see the pay per view match”. Cesaro throws him down and puts a forearm in the face for two but Gallows hits a running charge in the corner. We take a break and come back with Anderson having been ejected for interference and Cesaro muscling Gallows up for a suplex.
The threat of the Swing sends Gallows to the ropes so Cesaro settles for the Sharpshooter. Cue Anderson to kick Sheamus in the head, which of course means the referee doesn’t see Gallows tap (that finish is WAY overused), allowing Gallows to come back with a big boot. The flapjack gives Gallows the pin at 8:45.
Rating: D+. I am so, so sick of that “distraction means the tap out doesn’t count” schtick. It’s been used WAY too many times, especially with Cesaro and Sheamus. Just come up with something fresh and maybe people will stop complaining about how boring your matches are. Nah, I’m sure we need to just get over it and enjoy right?
Mick Foley is on the phone with Stephanie McMahon when Sami Zayn comes in. Sami wants to enter the Royal Rumble but Stephanie says that’s not how it works. Oh here we go. Sami has to beat Seth Rollins to get in. This has been your weekly reminder that Stephanie is the real power in WWE. Stephanie also has something in mind for Rollins.
Earlier today, Bayley sat down to talk about Sunday’s match with Charlotte. She doesn’t understand why Charlotte is so down on her being a lifelong wrestling fan but Bayley is bringing the Bayley Buddies and all of her fans to San Antonio to take the title.
Mick comes in to see Rollins and tells him about the match with Sami. However, if Rollins loses, Sami gets Seth’s spot. This has been your weekly reminder that Stephanie is the puppet master and gets to smile and laugh while we just get to watch.
Sami Zayn vs. Seth Rollins
Only the winner goes to the Rumble. It’s a feeling out process to start as the announcers talk about how these two used to be friends and even roommates. Neither can get anywhere in the first few minutes so Seth turns it into a fist fight and scores with a suicide dive as we take a break. Back with Seth missing the springboard knee and getting caught in the Blue Thunder Bomb so CUE THE CROWD REACTION SHOTS!!!
A Michinoku Driver gets two more on Seth but Rollins runs the corner and throws Sami down for the Blockbuster. Seth grabs the Falcon’s Arrow for two more and a jumping knee to the face just sounds painful. There’s the Sling Blade but Sami reverses the Pedigree into a tornado DDT.
The Helluva Kick misses but Sami backdrops him to the floor for a big crash. Back in and a sunset powerbomb gets two more on Seth, followed by the exploder into the corner. Rollins bails to the apron and manages a Pedigree to knock Sami cold…..and here’s HHH. Or at least his music hits, allowing Sami to small package Rollins at 15:57.
Rating: B-. This match had some of WWE’s greatest hits for stupid ideas, including ALL THE CROWD REACTION SHOTS and that stupid music fake out. I’m looking forward to Wrestlemania but unfortunately it’s so we can get done with this HHH vs. Rollins feud. Why in the world we need to sit around and wait for so many months on this feud isn’t clear but odds are it’s “well, you can’t expect TRIPLE H to lower himself to any other show.”
Video on Shawn Michaels winning the 1995 Royal Rumble.
Rollins is livid and demands that Foley figure out what’s going on. Foley says it wasn’t him but Rollins is going to find out.
TJ Perkins/Jack Gallagher/Mustafa Ali vs. Tony Nese/Drew Gulak/Ariya Daivari
We get a quick video on Ali before the match. Perkins and Gulak get things going and we start in a hurry with TJ flipping around, only to get kicked in the ribs in the corner. Nese misses a moonsault though and it’s off to Ali for a rolling neckbreaker. Everything breaks down and Ali’s inverted 450 puts Gulak away at 3:51.
Rating: C-. This was way too short and I don’t think Gallagher was ever legally in the match. That inverted 450 looked great but it came at the end of a very short match which didn’t have enough time to showcase six people at the same time. This was kind of a step back for the division which was getting more and more entertaining once they got away from matches like this one.
Here’s New Day for a chat. They want to become Universal Champion at Wrestlemania but cue Enzo and Big Cass to cut them off. Cass is going to be in the Royal Rumble as well, which seems to greatly please the fans. Rusev, Jinder Mahal and Lana (who has hacked off a lot of her hair) interrupt with Rusev wondering why Big E. and Big Cass have to add Big to their names. You don’t hear Rusev call himself handsome do you?
Titus O’Neil cuts them off and New Day’s annoyed reactions are hilarious. Woods offers to meet Titus outside in a reference I don’t quite get. Anyway there’s an eight man tag…but there are only seven men in the ring. Woods points out that the fourth option is Lana (BIG pop for that suggestion) but he wants to know who the real fourth partner is.
New Day/Enzo Amore/Big Cass vs. Jinder Mahal/Rusev/Titus O’Neil/Braun Strowman
Joined in progress with Kofi in trouble until a jawbreaker frees him up. It’s not enough to get past Titus though who hits a sloppy Dominator. Mahal gives up the hot tag though and it’s off to Cass. The Bada Boom Shaka Lacka is broken up and everything breaks down with Big E.’s spear through the ropes being blocked. Kofi hits a big dive onto a pile of people on the floor….but it leaves Braun to face Enzo. Amore actually gets out of the powerslam but his middle rope DDT is countered into said powerslam for the pin at 4:35 shown.
Rating: D+. Nothing to see here but it let Strowman look dominant, which is the entire point. Strowman is going to be a big deal in the Rumble and is probably one of the favorites but it’s nice to see some other names added to the field. I know Cass and Rusev are the longest of long shots though getting to be announced is a bit of a plus.
Post match here’s Big Show for the showdown with Strowman.
We recap the opening sequence.
US Title: Roman Reigns vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho is defending but Reigns starts fast and knocks him to the floor for a running dropkick. Back from an early break with Owens on commentary and telling Byron to shut up. Naturally we LOOK AT THE ANNOUNCERS’ TABLE TO SEE PEOPLE TALKING while the match is going on. Jericho grabs a chinlock as the announcers pepper Owens about his upcoming title defense.
Ever the arrogant heel, Jericho slaps Reigns in the face a few times so Roman uppercuts him out of the air. The Samoan drop into a rollup is botched so Jericho hammers away, only to have the drop hit a few seconds later. The Superman Punch is countered with a dropkick but the Codebreaker is easily powered away. Now the Superman Punch connects but Owens comes in for the DQ at 9:45.
Rating: C-. This was fine while it lasted and thank goodness they didn’t change the title back already. Owens interfering is fine and thankfully they didn’t have another champ lose all over again. The match wasn’t terrible and Reigns wasn’t entirely booed out of the building so this is one of the better possible outcomes.
Post match Reigns is beaten down but manages to lock Owens in the cage and spear Jericho. Coolish moment I guess, though wouldn’t it make more sense to have Jericho locked in the cage and beat Owens down as a preview for Sunday?
Back from a break with Jericho letting Owens out of the cage. As a bonus, Sunday’s match will now be No DQ. Kevin is furious.
In another sitdown interview, Charlotte talks about being backstage for major shows while Bayley was watching on the couch. Charlotte had an amazing athletic background and yeah, she and Bayley used to be friends. Bayley was the heart and soul of NXT but now she has the audacity to think she’s on Charlotte’s level. Then Bayley is going to lose and will remember that she’s just a fan.
Nia Jax vs. Ray Lyn
Nia runs her over in the corner and hits something like a Banzai Drop for the pin at 28 seconds.
Post match Nia dedicates her win to Sasha Banks’ recently deceased career. Now that Nia has broken the Boss….and never mind because here’s Banks on a crutch. Sasha hits her in the ankle with the crutch and actually gets in a double knee shot to drop the monster.
We look at Rollins losing his Rumble spot again.
Rich Swann vs. Noam Dar
Non-title and Alicia Fox is with Dar. Swann flips over him to start and sends Dar outside, only to have Noam hide behind Fox. We come back from a break with Swann fighting out of a chinlock and ankle scissoring him off the top. The spinning kick to the head ends Dar at 5:54. Not enough shown to rate but this was just a workout for Swann.
Swann wants Neville out here and we get Neville all the way to the apron, only to have Rich dive through the ropes to start the fight. Referees break it up but this was a really well done segment and actually made me want to see the match. Well done.
Cedric Alexander vs. Neville is announced for 205 Live. Alexander is ready to talk about his match when Fox and Dar come in. Alicia knows Cedric is jealous of Dar, who will always be a winner as long as he has her in his corner. A lot of screeching ensues so Cedric walks away.
Here’s Goldberg for the closing segment. The chants cut him off and Goldberg seems to forget his lines a few times. He finally gets them right by talking about facing twenty nine other men in the Royal Rumble for the right to face Owens or Reigns. Cue Paul Heyman to talk about who Goldberg might be facing on Sunday. It could be Randy Orton, Braun Strowman or even this man: Brock Lesnar. Brock comes out while Heyman keeps talking but Goldberg says get in here. The fight is almost on when the gong strikes. Undertaker shows up and we get the big three way staredown to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. This was a show where your individual miles may vary as the show itself wasn’t great but I liked the show for the simple fact that it made me care more about the Rumble. I’m more interested in the Cruiserweight Title match and maybe even the Rumble itself, which is a big upgrade. Reigns vs. Owens now being No DQ could help a bit if they actually let them have a brawl instead of the boring match that they’ve done otherwise. It’s an upgrade though and that was really badly needed.
Luke Gallows b. Cesaro – Flapjack
Sami Zayn b. Seth Rollins – Small package
Mustafa Ali/Jack Gallagher/TJ Perkins b. Ariya Daivari/Tony Nese/Drew Gulak – Inverted 450 to Gulak
Jinder Mahal/Rusev/Titus O’Neil/Braun Strowman b. New Day/Enzo Amore/Big Cass – Powerslam to Amore
Roman Reigns b. Chris Jericho via DQ when Kevin Owens interfered
Nia Jax b. Ray Lyn – Banzai Drop
Rich Swann b. Noam Dar – Spinning kick to the head