1/4 RAW: Slow start for 2016

WWE RAW Review
January 6, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com

Happy New Year everyone! I’ll preface this by saying I really wish I hadn’t watched Wrestle Kingdom 10 before watching this show. Watching that made me feel even worse about this show. It’s not a fair comparison because that’s Japan’s WrestleMania and this is just another lame RAW in a long string of them, but you just can’t help it. The interesting thing is that Monday night was dominated by the news that AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Doc Gallows, and Karl Anderson are reportedly WWE bound. If WWE were smart, they’d leave these guys alone and not make them into another mindless WWE performer. One of the things that made WWE so awesome years back was you had guys coming in with different styles and not working the same match. Nowadays everyone is the same. I despise seeing Alberto Del Rio and Alicia Fox doing tilt-a-whirl backbreakers on the same show. Hardly anyone has a unique style anymore. Anyway, I’m not looking to get off on a tangent here. Let’s get back to RAW.

Tradition has shown that WWE usually books a big show to kick off the New Year and start a new turn of the calendar on the right foot. I was hoping last year was an anomaly because that show stunk, but in the prior years we’ve had an Old School RAW and a very good CM Punk vs. Ryback TLC Match to kick off the New Year. It looks like those days are long past us. The only thing promoted before the show started was a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match with Roman Reigns defending against Sheamus with Vince McMahon as the guest referee. The rest of the show was a question mark and it seemed to be that way for the people writing it because for nearly two and a half hours, the show was a directionless nightmare.

483 days and counting…

483 days. Let me just write it out again: 483 days. That’s 69 weeks or 1 year, 3 months, and 27 days since Monday Night RAW opened with a match. Since RAW opened up on September 8, 2014 with a Steel Cage Match featuring Chris Jericho taking on Bray Wyatt, every single episode of RAW has opened up with a talking segment. It’s been over a calendar year! I’m not going to go back and count, but I’d venture a guess to say that more than 75% of those talking segments have involved The Authority. Then they’ll wonder why the ratings for this company are sinking lower and lower causing them to have to hot shot a month worth of angles into one show to crown Roman Reigns as the champion just to pop a rating. The predictability of how the show will start is bringing about a change to a long standing famous saying: In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and the opening of Monday Night RAW. Would it have killed them to hold the talking segment off until 9:00 PM EST and instead kicked the show off with what turned out to be a very good grudge match featuring Kevin Owens taking on Neville? I’m not asking for the world – I’m just asking for a little variety!

Instead, RAW kicked off with Stephanie McMahon’s music hitting. Before she got in the ring, Roman Reigns’ music hit to interrupt her. A few weeks back, I praised the WWE for not having Reigns talk and rather having someone do all the talking just for him to get his one or two lines in there. That praise is over. They’ve gone to this bag of tricks for a few weeks now. How long can they continue to do segments like this? You can’t have better talkers come out every single week and massage this guy through twenty-minute segments each and every week. That’ll get old real quick and Reigns will be backed to being booed out of the building in no time. Anyway, the opening promo was kind of pointless really could have been a backstage segment. Reigns’ line was a bit lame as well.

Chris Jericho’s return completely underwhelms

So Chris Jericho made another return on Monday night in what was an absolutely terrible segment. The New Day was dying a death with their skit and started some contrived countdown only for it to turn into the Y2J countdown. Jericho came out and was really just a total caricature of himself – there’s really no other way to put it. Jericho hit on all the catchphrases he’s had for the last twenty years before starting a “rooty, tooty booty” chant, which was probably just something he wanted to do because he knew he could get the gullible fans to chant.

On a side note, today’s crowds are really bothering me. I was in Brooklyn last week for RAW, and I was pretty irritated for a good majority of the show. Probably half the reason was the show was bad and I had a sinus infection made worse by sitting behind a woman who poured a gallon of perfume on her head, but the other half was the damn crowd. I’m sorry, but you can’t sit on your hands for an entire match quiet and then start a “This is awesome” chant just because of one bump. You also can’t start a wave and then say a catchphrase or chant “boring” at the women and then cheer them over a high spot. They’ll also chant anything. That’s where you get a chant for “tater tots” or “rooty, tooty booty.” The McMahons actually come out and make fun of them for it. The crowd is so easily manipulated because everyone wants to be part of the show rather than enjoying it. Not that there’s much to enjoy, but still. Ok, rant over.

Anyway, Jericho buried the company’s declining ratings and WWE Network subscriptions in his promo, which was weird, and then stated he was in the Royal Rumble. He did this all while being unfunny with The New Day. It was just a train wreck of a segment in my opinion.

Fun main event with a bizarre ending

I definitely did enjoy the main event with Roman Reigns defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Sheamus with Vince McMahon as the referee. It was a fun, gimmicky match. I have to say that a.) I hope I just live to 70 and b.) I can look half as good as Vince McMahon does at that age. The guy still looks great. Unfortunately he was moving around like he’s 70 in the ring. I know he was only counting, but he was clunky getting down for the fast counts and just seemed like he was a step off trying to stay away from the action in the ring. Granted, even when McMahon was “wrestling,” he was pretty uncoordinated in the ring, so it could be that as well. Still, knowing his age, I was definitely a little nervous when Reigns was shaking him around. McMahon was still entertaining with his over exaggerated evil facials and the like.

Reigns and Sheamus are definitely a good pairing. The last couple of matches they’ve had have been above average in my opinion. Their physicality definitely made this fun. It got a little gimmicky at the end with Stephanie running down and getting bumped into the ring as well as the return of the evil Scott Armstrong. That was fun, but then there was a moment where I just have to think it was just McMahon not being aware of what was going on. Sheamus clocked Reigns with two stiff Brogue Kicks and covered. McMahon was looking right at him and had to pretend like he couldn’t move. That looked terrible and really hurt the end in my view. Finally, Reigns hit Sheamus with a spear and John Cone counted the pin. McMahon then knocked Cone out and told Reigns he’d be defending his title in the Royal Rumble match, which was definitely a neat stipulation. There’s a lot of ways they could go. Personally, I’d love to see Brock Lesnar pick up the win in the Rumble with Triple H returning to help screw Reigns out of it. I’d have Reigns run through Triple H at Fastlane to get the shot at Lesnar and then have the WrestleMania match done right unlike last year. I’m fantasy booking, but there’s a lot of fun and interesting ways they could handle this stipulation.

Quick Thoughts

I absolutely loved the match between Kevin Owens and Neville. While Neville is overall just a bit player in the overall feud with Owens and Dean Ambrose, he hopefully opened some eyes backstage with what he can do. I’m glad they distanced him from The Miz and the whole “you’re ugly” thing. Hopefully he can hover around the Intercontinental Championship be involved with something good as we head into WrestleMania. Neville and Owens definitely upped their game a bit as they were the first match of the New Year. I really liked it. Ambrose, who was on commentary, attacked Owens after the match to save Neville. Ambrose then put Owens through the commentary table as revenge for putting him through a table the week before. Overall very good stuff, and it should have kicked off the show.

This show was chockfull of boring and pointless matches. We had a brutally boring Titus O’Neil vs. Stardust match, a pointless League of Nations vs. The Usos match, and a directionless New Day vs. Kalisto and The Dudley Boyz match. It was like they only wrote what they wanted for the main event of the show and just kind of threw some things out there to fill up the rest of the time.

I really liked the Charlotte/Becky Lynch match. The match itself was so-so, but the turn at the conclusion was really well done. Charlotte is full blown heel now, and not a moment too soon. This role should fit her a lot better. Having her father by her side should help her immensely too.

Big Show vs. Ryback was awful last week, so naturally we needed a rematch. Mercifully it lasted only a minute before The Wyatt Family attacked the two of them and put them down.

Dolph Ziggler’s reactions are embarrassing anymore. This guy was getting huge pops just a few months ago, but it seems like everyone knows now that he’s going nowhere fast. Losing to Heath Slater isn’t going to help that view at all. Slater is teaming up with Adam Rose, Curtis Axel, and Bo Dallas in what appears to be a new age J.O.B. Squad. Can’t wait to see how that plays out…

After a big return last week, where was John Cena? I don’t even remember them mentioning him at all on the show.

Overall impression

This show completely dragged for a good majority of its three-hours. Still, it ended with the announcement of a stipulation that will get everyone talking. Next week, Brock Lesnar will return so there’s reasons to keep watching. Hopefully things will start to amp up as we get closer to the Royal Rumble and then jump onto the road to WrestleMania.

Bump of the Night: Neville hitting a 450 Splash on the floor!
Match of the Night: Kevin Owens vs. Neville ** 1/4

Final Rating: **

Well those are my thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know by commenting or using one of the other two options to get in contact with me.

E-Mail – MikeyT817@gmail.com
Twitter – @MikeTedescoWV

Check out my recap of this week’s RAW here. Please check out my live recap of RAW every Monday at 8 PM EST.

Thanks for reading!

Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Monday Night RAW for Wrestleview.com.