Raw rolls into Columbus, OH and the Schottenstein Center on the heels of the Roadblock pay per view last night. We know we have new tag team champions in Cesaro and Sheamus. Will they co-exist as champions, and can they hold on to the belts for a run? Charlotte survived the 30-minute ironman match last night in overtime to reclaim her Raw Women’s Championship. Was it truly “the end of the line” for her and Sasha Banks? And who is her next contender? Roman Reigns came up short against Kevin Owens, thanks to a swerve from Owens’ “best friend” Chris Jericho. Seems they swerved us all! But Reigns and Seth Rollins got the final word in, powerbombing both Jericho and Owens through announce tables. What will come of the four of them tonight?
Show Open, Live from the Schottenstein Center, Columbus, OH:
We got the opening video package, then Cole, Graves, and Saxton checked in.
Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho were in the ring and booed. Owens welcomed viewers to the “Chris and Kevin Show,” and pointed out Chris’ name was first. Owens said there’s nothing he won’t do to make sure the WWE Universal Championship stays with him, even if it means taking a Codebreaker from his best friend. They showed still shots of the Roadblock main event.
Owens said he didn’t know what Jericho was going to do, and as much as the Codebreaker hurt it paled in comparison to Jericho not being his best friend anymore. Jericho told Owens that the Codebreaker hurt him more than it hurt Owens. Jericho said he had to make the referee and all of the muttonheads believe. Jericho said he wants Owens to believe, so he asked Owens to take “the hug of Jericho” and told him to “bring it in, man.” They hugged.
Jericho called Santa a stupid idiot, and accused him of stealing his list gimmick and put him on the list. That drew cheers. Mick Foley came out through the presents and Christmas trees on the stage. Foley said Santa knows when you’re naughty and nice, and Jericho has been naughty. Foley set up shots of Owens and Jericho taking powerbombs from Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.
Owens got upset and said it could have ended his career, but Foley called it payback. Owens insisted he was a national treasure and Jericho made fun of Foley’s jacket. Foley took it off and he had an awful Christmas sweater on. He said it was the worst thing Jericho had seen and told him to drink it in. Foley booked a tag match “right here, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania” which got booed because he screwed up the town. Foley corrected himself. Owes bragged that they made sure he retained the championship, so they would figure something out.
Foley said that stops at the Royal Rumble. He said Santa brought him a present and a shark cage dropped down from the arena roof. Foley announced that Owens would face Reigns again at the Royal Rumble in a rematch, and Chris Jericho would be locked in the shark cage. Jericho rejected it, but Foley said he could make sure Jericho would never appear in a WWE ring again. Jericho said he’s afraid of heights.
Jericho got in the cage and complained about it not being safe. Foley locked it and said the key is in his fannypack, then struggled to find it. Foley said he forgot the key but Jericho wouldn’t be raised up until he gave the sign, but and he wouldn’t give it til then. Foley made the sign while saying it, so the cage raised. Jericho threw a fit and yelled “Open the door!” but Foley just told him to have a nice day.
Bill Says: This was an entertaining segment. Jericho and Owens must have been working the crowd before hand to get the boos they got coming in live, because lately they’re getting cheered a lot. If you were there, tell us (firstname.lastname@example.org or @RingRap on Twitter). Anyhow, Jericho showed some ass as the cage went up but the duo was still entertaining. Hopefully later in the show Seth Rollins is upset that his plan was to beat Jericho, then Owens, in order to get to Triple H.
We got a recap of the segment. Jericho was backstage and hyperventilating from being in the cage. Cole noted it would be Rollins and Reigns vs. Owens and Jericho in the main event.
Match #1 – Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Big Cass (w/Enzo Amore);
Winner: Rusev by disqualification
The Reax: Enzo and Cass did their normal entrance routine to a big pop. Cass said Rusev took the coward’s way out at Roadblock, but Rusev’s music cut the SAWFT routine off. Cass destroyed Rusev with punches in the corner and blew off the official’s count, which got him disqualified.
That was quick, painless, and forgettable. I guess we’re going to continue this feud on some more.
The commentary team hyped that Sasha Banks would address her loss to Charlotte after the break.
Sasha Banks came to the ring on a crutch, wearing a knee brace to sell the damage from the Ironman match. They aired still shots of the match, including black and white shots for the bloody nose moment. The crowd applauded her before she spoke.
She said she gave her blood, sweat and tears, and laid it all on the line and left it in the ring. She said tapping out twice didn’t just nearly break her leg, it broke her heart. She said she walked out without the women’s championship, and it kills her to say the better woman won. She said she doesn’t feel like the Boss anymore. She said she learned how to win and lose with respect and called Charlotte out to congratulate her.
A long pause, then Nia Jax’s music hit and she made her way to the ring. She sized up Sasha and circled, then said she doesn’t know why Charlotte isn’t there and doesn’t care. Jax said Sasha would never be the Boss to her. She called Sasha weak, wounded and a little girl, then kicked the crutch out from under her arm. Sasha fell to the mat, then Jax picked her up and tossed her across the ring. Jax got the crutch and teased hitting her with it but tossed it aside and left.
Bill Says: The angle would have benefited from Jax actually hitting her with the crutch or doing a bit more than just tossing her across the ring, but none the less a good angle overall. I’m a fan of pulling Sasha and Charlotte apart, and that’s what this does. I guess Charlotte goes on to Bayley, now. I’m fine with this first step here.
They showed Cedric Alexander and Alicia Fox, and Saxton said Alexander would face Noam Dar after the break.
Backstage, Sheamus and Cesaro were standing around with the title belts when Mick Foley entered. He said he felt like a proud papa for pairing them up, and said they changed the face of the tag division. Foley introduced new Raw Tag Team Championship belts, which are just like the Smackdown belts except on red leather.
A referee entered and said there was an emergency, and they cut to Braun Strowman roughing up a crew member and demanding to know where Sami Zayn is. Foley talked Strowman down, and Strowman said he wanted Zayn in a match or else. Foley said he talked Zayn into leaving and he’s a couple hundred miles away. Strowman said it would be “or else.”
Bill Says: Doesn’t saying Zayn took Foley’s word to leave would go against all that Zayn has been about of late? His character wouldn’t be ducking Strowman at this point…
Match #2 – Cedric Alexander (w/Alicia Fox) vs. Noam Dar;
Winner: Cedric Alexander
The Reax: Austin Aries joined commentary for this match. Alexander dominated the offense and hit the Lumbar Check for the win. Afterward, Dar cut a promo. He said he beat Cedric two weeks ago, and they aren’t even because Alexander has what he wants – Alicia Fox. Dar said all he wants for Christmas is Fox. Playing the “steal the girlfriend” role is fine, but they needed to do more to cement the Fox/Alexander pairing so that it means more.
New Day was walking backstage, and we’d hear from them next.
After a commercial New Day came out and cut a promo from the stage. Woods said their historic title run hit a roadblock at 483 days. Kingston added that Ric Flair could not be a 16-time champion without losing 15 times. E said that will be Charlotte in a moment, and continued by saing they can’t become three time champs without losing a couple times. Woods said they would definitely become W…W…E…World…Tag…Team…Champions (complete with hip swivel) again.
Cesaro and Sheamus came out, and Sheamus was about to mock New Day but Cesaro cut him off. Sheamus called himself the tag team champion, and Cesaro said his name. They said their names back and forth with the crowd responding accordingly. Cue “I am the tag team champion!”
Kingston said he couldn’t believe they got new title belts. He said their run had to end at some point, and they’re happy that if someone had to do it, “it was you.” Sheamus thanked them but New Day shamed him and said they were talking to Cesaro. Sheamus and Cesaro bickered again on the apron. The fans shamed Sheamus and he boasted he is the reason they are the tag champs.
Sheamus said New Day disgraced the titles for 483 days, and if New Day could hold the titles that long, he could hold them for 20 years. Woods mocked the notion that he could break their record, and bragged about the merchandise they released. He said they sustained themselves on the power of positivity. Big E said Sheamus would never touch their reign because New Day Rocks.
Gallows and Anderson made their entrance, calling everyone in the ring a bunch of nerds. They took credit for helping Cesaro and Sheamus win because they softened up “Nerd Day.” Cue the Shining Stars, who tried to sell timeshares. Cesaro ripped the pamphlet up, which led to a brawl that the babyfaces got the better of going to break.
Match #3 – Sheamus, Cesaro, Big E, and Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Primo, Epico, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson;
Winner: Sheamus, Cesaro, and New Day
The Reax: Late in this one, the rapid fire big spot sequence hit then Cesaro hit the swing on Epico and locked in the Sharpshooter to score the victory. The odd couple routine with Cesaro and Sheamus is getting tired, but the fans react to it so they’re going to keep doing it. It’s not my cup of tea, but if it’s working then you know WWE is going to stay with it. The match was fine, and pretty straightforward though I would have expected to see tension between New Day and the new champions.
They recapped the show’s opening segment.
Bacsktage, Cass told Enzo that Rusev got what he had coming to him, and they need to focus on having fun in Columbus. A man entered and handed off a certified letter. It was a letter that required Enzo to go to sensitivity training since he exposed himself to Lana.
Bill Says: Bada-Boom, dumbest guys in the room….again.
They hyped John Cena’s return to Smackdown next week. You can’t see him.
They ran a Royal Rumble hype video, with Cole adding that the road to Wrestlemania starts in six weeks.
Neville came to the ring for a promo. He said he destroyed Rich Swann and TJ Perkins and the people cheered. He called it rich because the only time they cheered before was because he was vulnerable and he’s small. Neville said he doesn’t need their pity, and he will destroy everyone in the cruiserweight division.
Rich Swann came to the stage and asked what happened to Neville, a man he used to respect. Neville yelled that he taught Swann everything he knows and as a result Swann’s career has skyrocketed. He asked where the respect and gratitude for the true king of the cruiserweights is. Swann headed to the ring and said Neville can call himself whatever he wants, but the title makes him the best.
Brian Kendrick came out and asked “how dare you talk to Neville like that.” He said what Neville had been through was an outrage, and wondered where he was. Kendrick said they couldn’t start a division without him. He called Neville a pioneer and none of this would be possible without him, which is why they see eye to eye. Neville said Swann needed to be taught his place.
They surrounded Swann, who threw a punch. The heels got the better of him, and Neville had Kendrick stand down so he could put the boots to him. TJ Perkins ran out for the save, but Neville kicked him. Kendrick applauded and Neville motioned for him to have his way with the babyfaces as he left. Kendrick hit Perkins with Sliced Bread No. 2.
Bill Says: Yelling does not equal intensity, and I thought Neville did too much of that here. That said, I do like the idea of turning him and putting him with the cruiserweights to help add some recognizable star power since they don’t seem to be interested in building the guys up otherwise. They can fix Neville’s promo issues if they coach him up.
Backstage, there was a sensitivity training class going on, and it featured Darren Young, Bob Backlund, Bo Dallas, and Jinder Mahal. Enzo entered and said he was there because he showed his Italian sausage. He called it Cass’ fault for locking him out of the locker room without clothing. McCarthy (the leader) asked how long he and his partner have been having marital difficulty. Enzo said they’re into chicks. She said they have a lot of work to do, and Jinder introduced himself. She asked how he spells his name, and Enzo replied SAWFT.
Bill Says: Jesus Christ is this bad. Vince is laughing his ass off, and we’re turning the channel.
They showed more of the sensitivity training, and Graves said Enzo hates it because it reminds him of high school, the six toughest years of his life.
Match #4 – Titus O’Neil vs. Sin Cara;
Winner: Apparent No Contest
The Reax: Braun Strowman attacked both men, making this a no contest. He powerslammed Titus on the floor then took Sin Cara up to the stage after a failed dive attempt in order to throw him through the Christmas trees and presents. A cool visual bump there.
Backstage, Owens asked Jericho if he was alright, and Jericho yelled he wasn’t. Owens told him to calm down and concentrate on their match. Jericho said he felt like a sexy pinata in the cage with everyone laughing at him. Owens played to his ego and agreed that Rollins and Reigns would get it when they faced them later.
Charlotte made her entrance and Graves hard-sold viewers to get the network to see the match, saying they’d never forget it. Charlotte showed off the belt and told fans to bow down to the queen. She said she would call Sasha Banks out, but she didn’t think she’d make it out after what happened earlier. She said she beat the Boss out of Sasha.
Charlotte called herself the greatest superstar she has ever seen, and you could put her in any era and she would dominate. She said Trish Stratus and Fabulous Moolah don’t measure up, and she is the queen of pay per view. She added that Clemson would beat Ohio State in the College Football Playoff. Odd line, as she’s not from South Carolina. Anyhow.
Bayley came out and Charlotte asked why she was interrupting her. Bayley said she wanted to congratulate her and said Charlotte vs. Sasha would go down as the greatest feud in WWE women’s history. Charlotte cut her off and told her she belongs with the fans paying to see her.
Bayley said it’s time to begin the Charlotte vs. Bayley rivalry now that the Sasha rivalry is over. Bayley reminded Charlotte she is 2-0 against her and hasn’t forgotten what happened at Survivor Series. Charlotte said the reason she didn’t get called up with her, Sasha and Becky Lynch is that she isn’t good enough. Bayley said she was willing to prove that she is on the spot.
Charlotte balked, but said that since Bayley was dressed like a fifth grader they could go to school. She called for a referee and Cole hyped that Foley would have to make it official.
Match #5 – Charlotte (c) vs. Bayley; Non Title Match;
The Reax: Late in this, Charlotte threw some chops and went for another one but Bayley caught her with a backslide for the win. Charlotte’s shoulder was up, and the commentary team noted that. It was a decent match that told the key element that Bayley has Charlotte’s number and has beaten her 3 straight times now. With the shoulder up, that causes some controversy as well.
We’re back at sensitivity training again. The trainer wanted a role-reversal exercise. Bo Dallas asked if they could “bo-gin” rather than begin. Ugh. Darren Young and Bob Backlund did it, with Backlund impersonating Young and doing squats. Enzo and Jinder paired up. He said he had a job and got fired. Mahal said he has little man syndrome and makes up for it with his mouth and bad attitude. Enzo asked if it would be in bad taste if he slapped the taste out of Jinder’s mouth. The trainer said it would be. He said he wouldn’t do it, and that shows the training is working because he’s more sensitive.
Bill Says: Boy, can you tell it’s a holiday week. This training bit is just not worth anything at all, regardless of the payoff.
They hyped the main event. We got more hype that Emmalina is coming soon, and Graves read a social media post where Emma said all the fans care about is the Four Horsewomen and she won’t fall at their feet.
The trainer gave certificates to the graduates of the class, and Enzo pledged to be more sensitive in all areas of his life. He said he would be more sensitive to his tag partner and lover. He suggested they exchange instagram information and he could reach out to her with sensitivity issues late at night and slide in for hands-on advice.
Rusev entered, and Enzo tried to exit. Jinder Mahal blocked him, and Rusev and Jinder then teamed up to put the boots to Enzo. Rusev held Enzo so Lana could slap him. Rusev then put Enzo through a table.
Bill Says: Live crowd reaction = NOTHING. They just didn’t care at all. A couple guys were chanting for Corey Graves in fact. Rusev has a tag partner, I suppose, but that’s all that happened here. What a joke of a sequence of segments, and WWE should be ashamed of that bullshit. Just awful.
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns made their entrances for the main event. Owens made his entrance, then he motioned for Jericho to join him. Cole played up how high the cage may end up being inside the Alamodome at Royal Rumble.
Match #6 – Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho;
Winner: Apparent No Contest
The Reax: Late in this one, Jericho went for a springboard move but at a Superman punch from Reigns. Reigns wanted the hot tag and Rollins was about to make it, but Braun Strowman showed up and pulled him off the apron and attacked. Match thrown out at that point.
Afterward Jericho and Owens put the boots to Rollins, and Strowman got in the ring. Owens and Jericho fled, and Strowman slammed Rollins with a punch to the chest then hit a running power slam. Jericho and Owens threw Reigns in, then Strowman yelled that everyone would fall then powerslammed Reigns to end the show.
That ending added a little juice to things. This at least felt fresh aside from the heels cheating or the faces winning cleanly. I’m not sure where Strowman slots into things, as I think he is very green to be pushing really high up the card right now, but we’ll see how that plays out. I’m convinced there’s unfinished business with Zayn yet.
This show was dreadful though for the most part. I thought the women were fine in their roles and establishing direction, Jericho and Owens were their normal entertaining selves, but beyond that there were a lot of holes. I think WWE creative mailed it in for the holiday week or something, because this was rough to watch. Reigns is getting another shot at Owens (which doesn’t excite many), but no promo time at all? Enzo’s sensitivity training might be setting up a future tag match with Rusev and Jinder, but the segments were just awful and really brought things down for me.
Well, Drew has the unenviable task of breaking this down a little on Around the Ring tomorrow, as well as your Smackdown and 205 Live coverage tomorrow night. Be sure to drop by our Reader Poll and tell us what you thought of the show from 1-5 and hit us on Twitter @RingRap with other comments. See you for Ring Rap Audio on Wednesday.