December 28, 2015
From the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY
Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole
The live show starts with Vince McMahon coming out to the ring. Vince said he is here tonight to “settle the score.” He then calls out Roman Reigns and yells about him until he comes out. Reigns enters from the crowd as we get a replay of last week where Reigns turned his back to Stephanie and walked away, pissing her off. This was shortly after Stephanie yelled and screeched for him to leave as the whole thing made little sense. We finally return to the live show as Vince tells Reigns that HHH will get revenge on him as the crowd chants “we can’t hear you” at Vince before giving him the “what” treatment as he talks about his family. Vince then tells Reigns that he not only owns the ring but the WWE World Heavyweight Title. Vince then talks about how he really owns Reigns himself and one day he will realize that. Reigns tells Vince he is a “rich snob” before getting cutoff, as Vince said he is a billionaire and that is a big difference. They go back and forth on the mic as the crowd chants for Daniel Bryan then CM Punk. Vince then talks about the Wild Samoans tag team as he gloats about working them into the ground, noting how Reigns’ father, Sika, was paid peanuts as he smiles while saying he lined his pockets with his money. Reigns then gently pushes Vince down as Vince yells about his neck hurting. Stephanie’s music hits as she waves in a few officers to arrest Reigns. Stephanie acts like Vince is in tremendous pain and demand that the officers arrest Reigns. However, they refuse while one man in a suit tell Stephanie that they are here for security and not for her personal use. Stephanie gets in his face and yells at him to arrest Reigns but the officer tells her to step away before she goes to jail. Vince gets up and calmly approaches the officers before he gets increasingly upset when they tell Stephanie to back off. Vince grabs the officer and finally stops, saying he did not mean to do that, so he orders the cops to handcuff Vince as Stephanie screeches in the background. Vince is read the Miranda Warning as Reigns sneaks in the microphone so we can all hear. The crowd starts a feint “goodbye” chant while Vince is being walked up the aisle. I thought Vince did okay here but the rest of this was quite bad. Stephanie’s screeching really makes you want to change the channel and Reigns came off more like a smiling doofus than the badass character that has started to win him over more with live crowds. And the material was really lame.
We are back from break as we see a clip of Vince being put into the cruiser as Stephanie screams about police brutality. The announcers speculate as to the severity of Vince’s charges. With the Tamir Rice verdict reached today, some might be turned off by this material. Despite that, its not very inspired and did not lead to anything entertaining.
Kevin Owens vs. Neville
Neville is announced as the Slammy Award-Winning “Breakout Star of the Year.” He even carries the Slammy with him as we are shown a highlight reel of all his high-flying moves. Owens charges but Neville ducks and kicks him down. He heads up top as Owens cuts him off. Owens immediately goes for the Pop-Up Powerbomb but Neville turns that into a rollup and gets the win (0:21). After the match, Owens attacks Neville and brutalizes him on the outside. We are shown a replay of the finish as Owens runs over and stomps Neville, who is being attended to by officials.
Thoughts: Good angle to put over Owens as a man possessed since losing the Intercontinental Title and the “Breakout Star of the Year” award at the Slammys.
We are back from break and shown a replay of Owens attacking Neville after their match. Neville is being helped to the back then Owens runs down the aisle and turns Neville inside out with a clothesline. Owens yells at Neville about being the “Breakout Star” then Dean Ambrose runs out as he brawls with Owens, who retreats through the crowd. The Owens/Ambrose feud is really starting to gel and a bright spot of the show.
The announcers plug the John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio match before showing brief clips of his appearance on the “Today Show.”
We are shown a video package from the Rock’s Instagram account as he will be appearing at WrestleMania 32.
Jojo is interviewing Becky Lynch, who will be facing Sasha Banks tonight. This was after highlights from “Smackdown” were shown as Team BAD taunted Becky. Jojo then asks Becky about Charlotte Tweeting that she would not be here tonight. Becky talks about not coming from Ireland to New York to blend in but rather to stand out. Becky tried but this bland, pandering material is not going to help her get over.
Team BAD is on the ramp. Sasha tells the crowd that Becky stating New York is the greatest city is only because she never visited Boston while she puts on a New England Patriots cap. Naomi then runs down Brooklyn for being a dump. A decent job at getting heel heat before the match.
Sasha Banks w/ Team BAD vs. Becky Lynch
The match started after the break. Sasha knocks down Becky before yelling out “Boston.” Becky uses an armdrag then the girls trade arm wringers as Cole talks about Renee Young heading down to the police station for more news on Vince. After a mild “NXT” chant, the girls are still going back-and-forth working the arm. Becky uses a dragon screw and manages a cradle but Sasha shoves Becky down on the mat. Becky now works the leg but Naomi distracts the ref, allowing Tamina to pull Sasha to the ropes. Becky takes them both out with a baseball slide then shoves Sasha out before taking all of Team BAD out with a plancha as we head to break. We return with Becky working the arm. Becky heads up top as Sasha follows and yanks her down. Becky is hanging in the corner as Sasha takes her down with a double kneedrop for a nearfall. Sasha takes control and cuts off a comeback attempt with a knee lift. Sasha uses a surfboard then struts around as her opponent struggles to get up. She hits a pair of leg drops but Becky fights back. Sasha stops that but accidentally takes out her teammates with a tope as the referee counts. Sasha makes it in and ends up hitting a lungblower then puts on a submission. Becky fights out and blocks a strike. Becky then suplexes Sasha into the corner. Naomi jumps up onto the apron and kicks Becky as Sasha hits a lungblower and puts on the Banks Statement. Becky then turns that into the Disarmer but Sasha counters that into a rollup and grabs a handful of tights for leverage and gets the win (15:40) **1/2.
Thoughts: The match started off slow, almost too slow to be honest, but started to get good towards the end. Without Charlotte here to stand behind Becky it appears that their storyline will certainly continue.
Renee Young is outside of the “Police Station” as she talks about how the McMahon’s have called their attorney, Jerry McDevitt, to get Vince out of prison.
The New Day are in the ring. They remind us that the last time at the Barclays Center they became the WWE Tag Team Champions. After teasing us with a potential new song, the New Day say this will not happen because the fans did not vote them as the “Tag Team of the Year” or for the “OMG Moment.”
Kofi Kingston w/ New Day vs. Kalisto w/ Sin Cara
Match starts with a nice reversal sequence that Kalisto stops with a spin kick. He hits a corkscrew press then Xavier distracts the ref. He jumps down as Sin Cara takes out the rest of New Day then Kalisto puts Kofi away with a hurricarana (2:46) *. After the match, Xavier yells at Sin Cara for teaching the children to cheat and that he disgusts him. Xavier then says that payback is a bi….Big E as he will face him next.
Thoughts: Quick match that lead to a second one between members of the two teams. It also appears that the Lucha Dragons are the #1 contenders for the Tag Team Titles.
Big E w/ New Day vs. Sin Cara w/ Kalisto
This match is joined-in-progress. Big E is in control as the rest of New Day attempt to tell the announcers what to say. Back to the match as Sin Cara hits a Mexican arm drag but gets yanked off of the apron and on to the floor. Sin Cara points at his shoulder while medical personnel check on him. Sin Cara rolls inside as Big E runs him over. Big E yells at the ref to check on Sin Cara then toys with him as Xavier plays the trombone. Sin Cara dodges a charge in the corner and hits a twisting senton off of the top but is in too much pain to make a pin attempt. He gets a nearfall with a springboard moonsault block then hits a rolling senton off of the top rope. The rest of New Day interfere and that distracts Sin Cara long enough for Big E to hit the Big Ending for the win (5:58) *1/2. After the match, the medics continue to check on Sin Cara.
Thoughts: The two teams splitting singles wins doesnt exactly put over the Lucha Dragons as a viable contender. The whole tag team division needs a lot of help right now.
Miz TV is up next. This is the “Year in Review Spectacular.” However, he is quickly interrupted by Ryback, who tells Miz the WWE Universe does not care about the past and that 2016 will be the year of the “Big Guy.” Goldust interrupts next and this leads to other lower card workers like Zack Ryder and R-Truth, who tells us that every superstar on the roster is eligible for the “Superstar of the Year” award a week to late. Miz reminds him and Truth remembers. Heath Slater comes out next but after him is the Big Show, who runs through all of the geeks until the Ryback is left. Big Show tosses him over the top rope. Show then yells at the crowd for yelling “please retire” then they start a “Yes” chant. Show then said he will enter himself in the Royal Rumble and might even be #1 and win the whole thing and go on to become champion at WrestleMania. Good god, this was an awful segment. The R-Truth bit was slightly amusing I guess but devoting a long segment to put over the Big Show as a Royal Rumble threat by tossing around scrubs is just a bad idea. And the way he worded his promo it was unclear as to whether or not he was going to enter as #1 in the Rumble match.
Ryback vs. Big Show
This started after the break. Show overpowers Ryback to start. Ryback catches Show with a boot on a charge then takes him down with a dropkick. Ryback sets up for the Meathook but Show rolls outside and laughs before retreating as the Ryback wins by countout (2:58) 1/4*.
Thoughts: Doing a walkout on a guy you tossed around like luggage in the prior segment makes little sense to me. This is not a feud I want to see.
Dean Ambrose & The Usos vs. Sheamus & Rusev & Wade Barrett
Before the match, Sheamus runs down the crowd for cheering Vince’s arrest then dedicates this match to him. Sheamus and Jey start off the match. Jey catches him with a leg lariat but Sheamus hits him as Jey tried a tope. That didnt look very good. The Usos come back to dropkick Sheamus off of the apron then they hit Rusev with a double atomic drop. Ambrose hits Rusev with a missile dropkick as the League of Nations regroup on the outside until Ambrose bring Sheamus back inside and stomps a mudhole in the corner. The Usos are now working over Rusev in the corner until Jimmy gets hiptossed into the corner and sells his leg as we head to break. We return with the League of Nations targeting the leg of Jimmy until he comes back with an enziguiri. Ambrose tags in and runs wild on Rusev as the crowd is silent. Well, they just started a “this is boring” chant prior to the tag. Barrett provides a distraction to allow Rusev to take control as we head to another break. We return with Rusev getting a nearfall off of a slam. Jey tags in and runs wild while Jimmy is selling his leg. Rusev comes in and tosses Jey into the shoulder and shortly after that Sheamus gets the win with a Brogue Kick (16:53) **. After the match, Kevin Owens runs out from the crowd and attacks Ambrose from behind. He then puts the top half of the stairs on the side of the announcers table and powerbombs Ambrose through the table as Ambrose is out. A few officials check on Ambrose, who has his eyes wide open and is shaking as they help him up
Thoughts: A long, boring and heatless match. The crowd even started up a “This is Boring” chant at times. Barrett did not see any action here as his injury does not appear to be healed. The Usos seem to getting less and less crowd reaction with each passing week. They need a gimmick change ASAP.
A plug for the Royal Rumble airs, showing a photo of Brock Lesnar.
We are shown a replay of the events that led to Vince’s arrest. After that, we are shown Renee Young outside of the police station as we learned a “mystery person” posted bail as Stephanie and Vince angrily walk into a limo. These segments were a giant waste of time.
John Cena heads to the ring. He is met with a lot of boos. Cena then states he has a U.S. Title open challenge but this time he is not the champ. Cena then calls out the League of Nations for not caring about the USA and the fact Del Rio has never even defended the title on RAW, putting over how his challenges on RAW provided a lot of excitement, but now the fact Del Rio has the belt is a disgrace. Del Rio comes out next, flanked by the League of Nations, and mocks Cena by saying the “champ is here.” Del Rio then tells the crowd they are undeserving of a U.S. Title match. Cena calls him an “idiot” and this leads to him telling Del Rio to put up the Title tonight, even calling him a punk bitch. Del Rio tells Cena he will have a fight tonight………….but not for the title. Cena said he figured as much and taunts Del Rio further in the hopes of getting a title shot. Del Rio talks it over with his colleagues as Cena says the audience is tougher than Del Rio and talks about Jay Z and the Notorious BIG. Del Rio tells Cena he is more man than he will ever be and beat him clean in the ring. Del Rio then agrees to put the title on the line as we head to commercial. A good back-and-forth promo from Cena and Del Rio. It made you want to see their match.
We return as Cole tells us that Lemmy from Motorhead passed away as we are shown a tribute video of him.
U.S. Title Match: John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio (c)
Del Rio immediately attacks Cena and hammers away in the corner while the announcers speculate whether or not Cena has the “celebrity bug.” Del Rio stays in control, mocking Cena at times, while the crowd remains silent. Del Rio uses a chinlock but Cena is able to knock him out to the floor as we head to break. The action returns with Cena whiffing on a shoulder tackle. Del Rio gets a nearfall with an enziguiri then takes his time before coming off of the top rope but is met with a dropkick as both men are down. Cena is up and hits a flurry of moves before using the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena puts on the STF but Del Rio is able to reach the ropes. Cena gets caught with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker as Del Rio is back in control. Cena comes back with a tornado DDT for two then tries for the A.A. but Del Rio counters with a cross armbreaker. Cena lifts Del Rio up for a powerbomb as both men are down. Cena tries for the A.A. again but the referee gets inadvertently taking out. Cena puts on the STF but realizes the referee is out. Rusev runs in and hits a super kick then Del Rio covers as the ref crawls back inside but cannot put Cena away. Sheamus tries for a Brogue Kick but Cena moves and Rusev gets hit. Cena gets hit with a lungblower then Del Rio hits the same kick that put Cena away at Hell in a Cell but cannot put him away. Del Rio tries again for the cross armbreaker but Cena ducks and hits the A.A. then tries to cover but Rusev and Sheamus break that up for the DQ (13:56) ***. After the match, the League of Nations beat down Cena. The Usos run in and do not fare any better. Sheamus grabs a chair but Reigns runs in and takes out Rusev and Del Rio. He stares down Sheamus before hitting a Superman Punch then beats him with a chair until Vince McMahon comes out. Vince says he will sue the city of New York and that next week, Reigns will defend his WWE World Heavyweight Title against Sheamus and that he will be the special guest referee for the match. Vince then angrily says “Happy New Year” several times before the segment ends.
Thoughts: Good match. Cena had a little bit of ring rust but nothing all that noticeable. Del Rio did a fine job himself and shows good intensity in the ring. With Reigns taking out the League of Nations by himself, I do not know how we are supposed to take the faction as a threat as they rarely ever get the upper hand, even when at a numbers advantage.
Final Thoughts: Cena’s return went over well and the Owens/Ambrose feud has been a highlight. However, those were really the only positives here. The angle with Vince went nowhere. In the past, these types of segments would bring out some good comedy but this was uninspired without any satisfying payoff. They added some intrigue for next week with the title match and I assume Cena will be out to get revenge on the League of Nations as well, which could lead to something with Reigns. Speaking of Reigns, there are no credible heels on the roster for him to face and the WWE’s best heel, Kevin Owens, is currently feuding for the IC Title and over a lost Slammy Award. For tonight, there was some good but it was outweighed by the bad.