With Raw being so late over here in the UK (2am) it’s always Tuesday before I get to view it, but with that said I’m going to do a Wrap up of the major events within the show each week on a Wednesday. So here is the run down of the first Raw of 2016.
This weeks show was headlined by the allure of Roman Reigns defending his WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a special referee match against Sheamus- where Vince McMahon himself was the referee. I think going in everyone knew that there wasn’t going to be a title switch but with McMahon himself involved how could Reigns escape with the gold? Well were going to get to that later, first here are the top moments of the show.
Jericho has returned a lot of times before, but what was special here was that he returned and shared a great segment with the New Day- as he interrupted them and proceeded to verbally berate them in only a fashion that Jericho can. This was one of the best returns he’s had in a longer time, add to that the fact he announced he’s entering the Royal Rumble and this was a great moment. And then there’s the mention he made to suffering ratings, network buys and PPV buys as the reason he has returned, and this was unedited Jericho at his best.
Becky Lynch shines as Charlotte goes full Heel.
We’ve all seen the signs over recent weeks that Charlotte was going to go full heel (she better this way to be honest) and Raw gave us the full change as after what was a great Divas match, especially for the main roster, where Becky got a lot of offense was made to look strong and delivered some very good technically difficult moves to secure the win- Charlotte engaged in a post match blind side attack and beat down on her former stable mate while being cheered on by her father. While it was nice to see Charlotte turn it was much better to see Becky showcased properly and be given a chance to display her talent, now if only we got this for Sasha and others more often.
Kevin Owens and Neville deliver the goods.
Kevin Owens and Neville have both been under utilised, yes even Owens has given his talent level, so seeing them both go head-head and be given 15minutes to deliver a hard hitting high octane and hugely impactful move-set match was great. If this rivalry was to continue it could do wonders for Neville’s star power that is being wasted and could help keep Owens looking strong instead of the haphazard booking we’ve seen. Watching the power of Owens be matched by the high flying and insanely acrobatic ability of Neville was great, especially the 450 of the apron. I think Owens winning was the right result as the seem to be building to him and Ambrose at the Royal Rumble- especially given Ambrose putting him through the announce table at the end. Either way this was a solid match for the show and more of this would not go a miss.
Dolph Ziggler was set to take on Heath Slater on Raw, in what should have been as groan worthy as Ryback vs Big Show early would have been if the Wyatts hadn’t of saved that segment by beating both men down. However instead we got an odd twist that was ultimate;y entertaining and intriguing at the same time as Slater arrived to the ring with Axel, Rose and Dallas in tow, and not only that but after a fairly good showing was able to use his new found friends as a distraction to score the pin fall victory and announce the new stable of Social Outcasts in a funny post match segment. Now this may not be a real threat moving forward but I do feel it will be well worth watching.
Reigns Retains while the Rumble gets Change
Roman Reigns was able to ride the special guest referee bias to a victory on Raw as he managed to superman punch Vince and then survive two brogue kicks and another biased referee (he also knocked him out) before hitting a spear and getting the three count from the 3rd referee. Yes those shenanigans were as convoluted as they sound, however I’m sure no-one expected a different result going into the match so it wasn’t all bad as the action itself was pretty good at times. However what made this the most change worthy and talk about moment was when Vince got a small measure of revenge on Reigns by announcing that as he loves “One versus All” he’ll defend his title at the Royal Rumble in the Rumble itself!! Now that’s a huge change and offers huge possibilities for story lines and potential new champions going into the event- and to be honest I’d have no problem with Reigns retaining as long as he isn’t the number 1 entrant which I feel McMahon will make him as further punishment. This was a huge swerve and a giant gamble for the company, and maybe this makes the event more interesting but it certainly makes the run to the rumble more fun and it makes Brocks inevitable entrance to the rumble more exciting. Will we see HHH enter and eliminate Reigns, will Bryan return now? Will Bray Wyatt get his moment to shine until Mania, or will we see Chris Jericho walk out of there with gold? So many possibilities on a such a great night normally just makes it better.