Date: January 26, 2017
Location: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Austin Aries
Hopefully we can get by without another broken arm. It should be interesting to see where they go with no Darren Young for a change as he’s been the one constant of this show, which isn’t the best idea in the world. It’s also the final show before the Royal Rumble so expect some high quality highlight packages. Let’s get to it.
Lince Dorado vs. Brian Kendrick
After Aries tells us that Dorado used to be a meringue champion, Kendrick is sent head first into the buckle and then out to the floor. A baseball slide takes Dorado down and we have a jarred knee. Back in and the knee is fine enough for a moonsault press onto Brian for two, followed by a hurricanrana for the same. A springboard Stunner gives Dorado another two but the shooting star hits knee, setting up the Captain’s Hook for the tap at 5:10.
Rating: C+. I was really surprised here but the match was a lot better than I was expecting. Dorado is fine for a generic cruiserweight and his offense was rolling until the end. Kendrick is still very hit or miss and while I’m rarely a fan of someone winning with two offensive moves in a five minute match, this was a very nice match.
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?
Video on HHH winning the 2002 Royal Rumble.
From Raw again.
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.”
Shawn Michaels won the 1995 Royal Rumble.
Alicia Fox vs. Dana Brooke
Rematch from last week. Brooke hiptosses her down and does a one arm pushup (Aries: “I usually do no arm push-ups.”) but gets headscissored into an armbar. An arm crank sends Dana outside and we take a break. Back with Dana stomping away in the corner and slapping on a bodyscissors. Brooke’s cartwheel moonsault hits knees and Fox gets in the northern lights suplex for two of her own. The ax kick puts Brooke away at 10:10.
Rating: D+. Just a match here as they basically did the exact same thing last week. Fox is in a weird place as she’s talented enough to beat up some of the women but WAY out of her league against the top of the division. Brooke has fallen off a cliff lately and I don’t see a way back up for her at the moment.
One more Raw trip to wrap us up.
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-. Not much to see on this one with the first match being fun but meaningless and the second match being something we saw just last week. In other words, it’s your run of the mill Main Event with the highlights carrying things as far as they’re going to be able to.
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