WWE RAW Review
January 19, 2016
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
Normally I don’t feed the trolls. I used to many years back, but I’ve since held back. However, after reading through some comments on my RAW review, I feel compelled to clear up some things. For those complaining about me putting in the recap the crowd reaction (or lack thereof) and using that to say I’m biased, do you not realize that the crowd reaction is part of the show? I’m sorry if it’s not what you want to hear, but the embarrassing lack of crowd response needed to be put into the recap. When your top star is coming out to the same pop the Social Outcasts got, it needs to be said. It has nothing to do with Roman Reigns or me hating him. Quite the contrary. I’m rooting for the guy. The poor guy has to overcome terrible scripted promos, no heels to work against, an Authority storyline that is way past expiration, and overexposure due to the show being three hours. However, except for the one night in December when they threw a month’s worth of angles into one show, his crowd reactions have been shrinking. Facts are facts.
Also, for the one who talks about “editorializing” and how recaps are supposed to be neutral and unbiased – um, moron, there’s no guideline for this. The wonderful folks that run this website trust my good judgment. The recap is mine to do with as I see fit. I go out of my way to be unbiased because I know there are a lot of recaps out there that aren’t (and are on major websites as well). However, if my intelligence is insulted, on the rare occasion I see fit to mention it, it should be conveyed. I’m sorry you don’t have any intelligence to insult.
Oh, and for those who claim “Oh my god Mike hates WWE,” you couldn’t be more wrong. I love the company. I root for the company. I’m simply frustrated with the company for making the same mistakes over and over again. Hell, you have a guy like Triple H complaining about the constraints of having to write a three-hour show each week and wishing it could be different, so I’m not alone here. However, like I’ve done in the past, I’m going to stick with them and hope for the turnaround. It will come one day I know it.
The Monday Night RAW recap is the single most read weekly feature of this website. The numbers have actually skyrocketed since I’ve taken the reins. On many nights, the hit totals have broken records for the website. I must be doing something right. So for that, I’m going to continue to do what I do and get paid for doing it. If your readership is lost, so be it. It won’t hurt the numbers. For those that have come to my defense in the comments and e-mails, I thank you.
That’s the last time I’m feeding the trolls. I feel so much better now. Now, on to the review.
497 days and counting…
The count since the last time RAW has opened up with a wrestling match is at 497 days, which is 71 weeks or 1 year, 4 months, and 10 days. Every week it’s the same old thing. This week they marched Roman Reigns out, and he came out to a very meager pop. You could tell right away that it was going to be a long night right from there. Reigns got in the ring and called out Brock Lesnar. Instead, we got Chris Jericho, who came out fist bumping Reigns and doing his dated catchphrases. A lot of people are calling for him to turn heel. I’m hoping he does because whatever it is he’s doing right now – I don’t know if it’s an elder statesman type thing or just being a glorified MC – isn’t working. They never went into what happened at Night of Champions between Jericho, Reigns, and Ambrose, so maybe that’ll come into play at some point. Maybe I’ll win the next Powerball as well. Jericho invited Reigns to be a guest on the Highlight Reel with Lesnar later in the night, and Reigns liked that.
The League of Nations then came out and literally spent the next ten minutes complaining that they weren’t on The Highlight Reel. Jericho and Reigns took turns with corny lines before Jericho booked a match with Reigns and Rusev with him as the guest referee. That was definitely weird, but they addressed it after the match was over with the obligatory Stephanie McMahon talking down to a superstar segment. Is there anything worse than that? Stephanie will never get her comeuppance, so how does her intimidating a male superstar accomplish anything? The point of a heel in wrestling is to be the foil to the conquering hero. She cannot do that. She never has to eat crow. It’s a problem. It wouldn’t be so bad if it had been going on for a little while, but The Authority program started in August of 2013. You can count on one hand the amount of times they had one put over on them, but they always immediately got their heat back. Then they’ll wonder why ratings are down and people complain about the storyline.
Anyway, the match with Reigns and Rusev was pretty decent just because of Jericho. While Jericho was pretty brutal in the opening segment with his scripted lines, he was hilarious here with his antics as the referee. Reigns and Rusev were just having a match with no crowd response until The League of Nations started interfering. Jericho then hilariously ejected them from ringside while becoming more and more over-the-top with each ejection. I particularly loved the horrible cartwheel when he ejected Del Rio. Reigns then picked up the win and that was that.
The biggest Highlight Reel of all time?
When Chris Jericho promoted that Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, and himself were going to be in the ring at the same time because they are the top favorites to win the Royal Rumble, he said it was going to be the biggest Highlight Reel of all time. By the time it actually came around, Jericho repeated the line and the crowd barely responded. It was kind of sad. Paul Heyman came out, and he had a little back and forth with Jericho. I have to give them credit. They tried to get the crowd going. At one point, Jericho actually tried to get a Suplex City chant going, but to no avail. By this point, the crowd had sat through two hours and forty-five minutes of mostly filler and not much else, so they were completely gone. Hell, they were dead from the time the show started.
Heyman’s promo was actually pretty good. Jericho teased him by asking if he didn’t think Lesnar had a good chance at winning the Rumble, but Heyman smartly responded by saying Lesnar was never pinned last year at WrestleMania, so he should have a bye to the main event. It’s nice when some things on the show make sense. Heyman said they were forced into the Rumble, so Lesnar would turn it into Suplex City. Jericho then got in Heyman’s face and asked what if it came down to him and Lesnar. That was pretty awkward because there was no heat or tension for that line. I don’t think anyone really buys that Jericho has a real chance.
Brock Lesnar then came out and his pop was pretty miniscule. Roman Reigns then came out through the crowd. Just to show how dead they were, he normally has lots of people looking for fist bumps and needs security to walk him down, this time he walked through without any problems whatsoever. Very few people reached out or even seemed excited. Lesnar circled the ring before getting in and immediately being speared by Reigns. The League of Nations ran down, so Lesnar took care of them before being speared by Reigns once again. Then the Wyatt Family came out, and they took out both Reigns and Lesnar. It was kind of funny to see Erick Rowan, who is the weak link of the Wyatts, getting over on Lesnar. The Wyatt Family looked strong coming out of it. It was a good close, but it wasn’t what the crowd wanted to see at all. Much of the last half of the show (except for the pathetic eight-man tag) was heels coming out on top, so to close off with more heel domination is a bit of a crowd killer. Also, like always, overexposure ruins everything. The crowd already saw The Wyatt Family and Roman Reigns. The crowd already saw the League of Nations three times. It’s hard to get amped up to see the same acts over and over on the same show. They need to establish some heels for the Royal Rumble, so that was this segment. It just seemed to be too little, too late.
So Natalya returned and is friends with Paige again despite the fact that it was insinuated that Paige was the one who injured her in storyline. I guess that’s forgotten about. Natalya versus Brie Bella was an advertisement for “Total Divas.”
The Wyatt Family beat The Dudley Boyz and Ryback in a quick match. The Wyatts have been dominating The Dudley Boyz, so at least they’re staying consistent with that. For those that hate 50/50 booking, this should make you happy. It makes sense for them to beat them considering how they were positioned later in the show.
Big Show killing Heath Slater and The Social Outcasts was pretty newsworthy if for nothing else than the Twitter war that erupted with Tough Enough winner Josh and most of the WWE locker room. Josh called The Social Outcasts “Social Jobbers” and was promptly called out by a good majority of the superstars, including the outcasts themselves. It got pretty heated. You could feel the salt in the tweets.
Vince and Stephanie McMahon participated in what has to be an early candidate for worst segment of the year. They had the Royal Rumble tumbler out there. They cut some long, boring promo before reaching in and revealing the Roman Reigns was the number one entrant. They tried again, and once again it was Reigns. They were going out of their way to show it was rigged, which is fine, but since they’re heels, you need someone to be angry about it. Instead there was no appearance from Reigns to feign disappointment, no shouting from Michael Cole about how this is a blasphemy… nothing. It just happened and that was it. I don’t even think Reigns talked about it once. They could have done so much more with this. Instead it happened, it dragged on for too long, and it was forgotten about.
Becky Lynch beat Tamina in a quick match before addressing Charlotte and Ric Flair at ringside. Becky cut a really good, fiery babyface promo. Unfortunately the fans weren’t into it. What was embarrassing was that Charlotte, unable (or perhaps unwilling due to possible repercussions) to think on her feet, said that Becky getting people to chant at her wouldn’t get her another title opportunity, only there was no one chanting. It must’ve been in the script, but it didn’t happen. You should be allowed to modify if that happens. That’s a microcosm of today’s WWE. No spontaneity, no modifications, no personality. Regurgitate the script and that’s it. Anyway, Becky goaded Flair into accepting the match for his daughter, so maybe they’re teasing a break-up because Charlotte was not happy.
Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio beat Dean Ambrose and Kalisto in a decent match with Kevin Owens on commentary. Owens was fantastic on commentary. He’s just a naturally funny guy and could have a good post-wrestling career as an announcer. Part of me thinks he’s serious when he verbally attacks the RAW commentators.
Big E beat Jey Uso in a match dedicated to Francesca the Trombone. What else can be said about that? I must say, it was nice to have The New Day in smaller doses this week. I love them, but they were getting badly overexposed with their weekly in-ring segments that would go a few minutes too long.
That eight-man tag team match was just straight up sad. Eight guys with no direction whatsoever just having a match to have a match. The saddest one is Tyler Breeze, who never got a chance on the main roster. That humongous botch at the end of the match should live on in infamy for a while, so there was something memorable about it.
The WWE continues to struggle with sub-par writing, dead crowds, and lack of depth on the main roster. You can blame injuries, but this is a company paying for the sins of not building anyone up in ten years. They’re trying now, but they should have had guys waiting in the wings ready to slide into that level. While the build for the Royal Rumble definitely had some hiccups, the match itself is intriguing and I am looking forward to the event in spite of what they put out.
Bump of the Night: Big E’s bump through the ropes to the floor
Match of the Night: Dean Ambrose and Kalisto vs. Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio **
Final Rating: * 3/4
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.
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.