December 19, 2016
From the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, OH
Your hosts are Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and Michael Cole
The show starts off with Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho standing in the ring. Owens almost welcomes us to the “Kevin Owens Show” but stops himself and calls this the “Chris & Kevin” show. We then see still photos of Owens retaining against Roman Reigns last night at Roadblock when Jericho came in to hit Owens with a Codebreaker as Owens retains via DQ. After that, Jericho tells us that was beautiful as Owens says as much as that Codebreaker hurt it does not hurt as much as Jericho not being his friend. Jericho said the Codebreaker hurt him too but he had to make the referee and all of the “Muttonheads” in the arena believe before offering Owens the “hug of Jericho.” They go on for a minute as Jericho ends up putting Santa Claus on the list but Mick Foley interrupts. Foley then calls out Jericho for putting Santa on the list as he tells Jericho he has been naughty as Foley shows us what took place after the match at Roadblock when Seth Rollins came out and even the score as he cleaned house with Reigns. Foley then takes off his coat to show us his Santa shirt before making Owens & Jericho vs. Reigns & Rollins tonight as he believes they are in Pittsburgh, PA. Owens says he always finds a way to win but Foley tells him at the Royal Rumble, he will defend the Universal Championship against Roman Reigns. Plus, Chris Jericho will be suspended above the ring inside of a cage and if he interferes, he will never be allowed to set foot inside of a WWE ring ever again. Jericho & Owens go nuts as a shark cage lowers and we get some comedy that leads to Foley tricking Jericho into getting locked in the cage. Jericho panics as the cage is lifted above the ring.
The material itself here was poor but these guys were able to rise above it an make this watchable. Plus, I like the stipulation with Jericho above the cage as it adds another dimension to the Universal Title match at the Rumble.
Backstage, we see Jericho getting oxygen as he struggles to breath. He made this a lot funnier than it should have been.
Big Cass w/ Enzo Amore vs. Rusev w/ Lana
Cass fires away as the bell rings and stays in control. He continues to slug away in the corner then the bell rings as the match is ruled a DQ (0:57). Cass continues to hammer away until Rusev finally escapes and leaves through the crowd.
Thoughts: I thought this was weak, especially after the non-finish these two had last night at Roadblock. However, I understand that they want to protect these two as much as possible and can see why this happened. This started off as a feud between Enzo and Rusev as Cass is the one now fighting for his friend as this will continue.
Sasha Banks heads out to the ring on crutches while wearing a knee brace. We see clips from her match at Roadblock last night. Sasha talks about how last night did not only almost break her leg, it broke her heart. She talked about making history with Charlotte as she names off all of the stipulation matches they have had. She then talks about how it hurts to say, the better woman won, and no longer feels like a boss. She wants Charlotte to come out so she can look her in the eyes and offer congratulations. However, Nia Jax comes out instead and tells Sasha she might be the boss to the “sheep” in the crowd but to her she is weak. Nia then kicks out Sasha’s crutch and tosses her around. She then teases hitting Sasha with the crutch but tosses it and leaves instead.
The crowd was cold for Sasha’s reaction and most of her promo but she did get a bit of sympathy from them after Nia’s attack. Sasha dropping the title for the 3rd time since SummerSlam has damaged her and the verbiage she was given made her come off as a loser, not someone you should feel sorry for after giving their all in an intense battle. Shame, as Sasha is a talented performer who is not been given any favors from the creative team. At least a Nia/Sasha feud is new though as we do not need to see Sasha vs. Charlotte again in the near future, no matter how good their matches have been.
Cesaro & Sheamus are backstage holding the RAW Tag Team Championship belts over their shoulders. Foley reminds them how he yelled at both of them having the potential of changing the Tag Team Division and they did as he reveals the new belts, which have red straps. Sheamus wants a green strap as he bickers with Cesaro when a referee runs in to tell Foley they have an emergency. The camera cuts to Braun Strowman tossing around people and objects backstage as he yells at Foley about Sami Zayn surviving ten minutes last night because he let him and demands Zayn again tonight “or else” after Foley told him he sent Zayn home.
Cesaro & Sheamus are back to bickering while Strowman is on the warpath as he demands revenge on Zayn. The latter was much better.
Cedric Alexander w/ Alicia Fox vs. Noam Dar
Austin Aries has replaced Saxton on commentary here as he says this is now the best episode in the history of RAW. This match was the result of Dar defeating Alexander two weeks ago on 205 Live where he dedicated the match to Fox. Alexander decks Dar with an elbow then hits a satellite headscissors as we go to break. The match returns with Dar working the arm. Alexander fights back and hits a handspring enziguiri then a springboard clothesline before putting Dar away with the Lumbar Check (4:51) *3/4. After the match, Dar tells Alexander they are not even because he still has the beautiful Alicia Fox. Dar tells “Foxy Baby” she is a real prize and that she’s all he wants for Christmas.
Thoughts: Dar is now a cruiserweight creeper of sorts as he is obsessed with Alexander’s woman, who two weeks ago was portrayed as a jealous lunatic. This feud is already DOA as a result. Why would you even care about this?
The New Day, with very little enthusiasm, make their way to the ring. Xavier tells us how after 483 days, their legendary Tag Team Championship reign hit a roadblock. Kofi says you cannot go on forever, citing Ric Flair having to lose fifteen times before becoming a sixteen-time World Champion. Big E cracks that will be Charlotte in about a month. However, Cesaro & Sheamus head out to the ring. Sheamus comes out and tries to mock the New Day as Cesaro tells him not to as Sheamus calls himself the Tag Team Champion then Cesaro gets his name in as they go back-and-forth. Kofi gets upset after how just one day as champions, they go new belts. Kofi says if someone had to dethrone them, he was glad it was “you.” Sheamus says thanks as the New Day say they were talking about Cesaro as they put over his abilities. We get more back-and-forth from Sheamus, who does not care what the crowd thinks of him. The crowd starts up a “shame” chant as Sheamus responds he was the reason Cesaro is a champion. Sheamus then gloats about the New Day’s reign ending as they disgraced the belts. Sheamus then says if the New Day can hold the belts for 483 days, he can hold them for “twenty years.” Xavier puts over all their merchandise and skits, while telling us to forget about the “Old Day” segment, but shortly Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson interrupt. Anderson & Gallows calls everyone in the ring “nerds” but then the Shining Stars come out to talk about their timeshares and this leads to a brawl with the New Day and Cesaro & Sheamus standing tall.
This segment was way too long and not very good, either. Sheamus and Cesaro seem to be doing the Team Hell No gimmick of champions who dislike each other and try to take all of the credit. Add to that a team with little credibility (Gallows & Anderson) and a team with zero credibility (Shining Stars) and you have one giant mess.
Big E & Kofi Kingston & Cesaro & Sheamus w/ Xavier Woods vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson & The Shining Stars
Foley made this match during the break. Epico tags and hits Kofi with a double underhook facebreaker as Kofi is now getting worked over in the opposing corner. Kofi tries a comeback but Gallows catches him with a chokeslam as we head to break. We return with Anderson trying to prevent Kofi from making the tag as he places him on the top rope but Kofi comes back with a tornado DDT as the crowd is fully behind Kofi. Gallows knocks the opposing team off of the apron then the Shining Stars hit Cesaro & Sheamus with stereo topes. Back inside, Kofi is just able to kick out of the Boot of Doom but he is able to make the tag shortly after that as Big E runs wild. However, Sheamus tags himself into the match and beats on Epico. Sheamus hits a rolling senton but Primo provides a distraction as Epico gets two with a rollup. Cesaro tags as they almost put Epico away with an assisted White Noise then the match breaks down with everyone trading big moves until Cesaro puts Epico in the swing and into the sharpshooter for the win (10:41) **3/4. After the match, Cesaro celebrates to cheers while Sheaums gets booed.
Thoughts: The match was decent enough. There was a long heat segment on Kofi but the match picked up after the break and everyone appeared to be trying hard. A lot better than I expected.
A replay of the opening segment where Jericho was placed in the shark cage and raised above the ring.
In the locker room, Cass tells Enzo to calm down and to focus on the fun they will have tonight in Columbus. However, Enzo is handed a letter as he reads it out loud. Enzo had a harrassment complaint filed due to exposing himself on November 21 and as a result will have to attend sensitivity training…..tonight.
We get a replay of Neville running in at the end of Roadblock’s Cruiserweight Championship match where he laid out Rich Swann and TJ Perkins. Neville then comes out to says how he destroyed Perkins & Swann last night and got cheered. He talks about the crowd only cheering for him when they feel he is vulnerable or small and as a result they can take those cheers and stick them as he issues a warning to the rest of the division that his goal is to obliterate the division. Swann comes out and asks Neville what happened but Neville yells at him to shut up and says he was the one who took him under his wing is Japan and taught him everything he knows but Swann no longer shows respect to the “true King of the Cruiserweights.” Swann tells Neville he can call himself whatever he wants but as long as he has the belt, he can call himself the best and that Neville cannot handle this. Brian Kendrick comes out and asks how can you not start a Cruiserweight Division without Neville and that they are both pioneers and none of this would be possible. Neville says that Swann is right and that he needs to be taught a lesson as they both surround Swann, who hits Neville but ends up getting double-teamed until TJ Perkins runs out but Neville drops him with an enziguiri. Neville leaves then Kendrick lays out Perkins with the Sliced Bread #2.
I thought it was an effective way to establish Neville’s new character. I also thought it was a good explanation as to why Neville attacked Swann & Perkins last night at Roadblock. While not the strongest on the mic, Neville did enough to get over his character and is already the top heel of the division. I found Swann coming out and basically smiling as he asked Neville why he attacked him to be quite dumb.
We are backstage to sensitivity training as Enzo walks in to see Darren Young, Bob Backlund, Bo Dallas, and Jinder Mahal. Enzo does his entrance routine but gets stopped. He then says he is here because his co-workers saw his “Italian Sausage” because of his partner locking him out of his locker room. The teacher then questions marital difficulties but Enzo says they like women, prompting the teacher to say she has a lot of work to do. Jinder then introduces himself as Enzo calls him SAWFT but is told to sit down as we go to break.
Sin Cara vs. Titus O’Neill
Sin Cara hammers away and hits a springboard crossbody but Braun Strowman comes out as both guys stand still until Strowman clears them from the ring as the match is ruled a no contest (). Strowman then leaves with Sin Cara over his shoulder and drops him at the ramp entrance when Foley comes out. Strowman then tosses Sin Cara off of the stage and onto a pile of presents as he starts destroying everything on the stage. Referees check on Sin Cara as Foley looks on in worry from the ramp.
Thoughts: Great segment to put over Strowman as a monster. Strowman did exactly what he should be doing here.
In the locker room, Owens asks Jericho if he is okay. Jericho yells about not being okay and how he is afraid of heights as he calls it “arachnophobia.” Owens corrects him as Jericho says he is also afraid of spiders too then he finally calms Jericho down to hype him up for their tag match tonight. Jericho once again talks about his fear of heights as Owens says he will beat Reigns quickly to help him out.
Charlotte Flair heads out to the ring. She talks about “beating the Boss” out of Sasha before mocking the attack that took place earlier on in the show from Nia Jax. Charlotte said she could dominate anyone from any era like Trish Stratus or the Fabulous Moolah. Charlotte calls herself a winner and says no one is on her level as she mocks the crowd by saying Ohio State will lose in the College Football playoffs but then Bayley comes out. Charlotte wants to know why Bayley is interrupting her as Bayley says she is here to congratulate her as she feels that Sasha vs. Charlotte will go down as the greatest women’s rivalry in WWE history but Charlotte cuts her off. Charlotte wants to know Bayley even bothers putting on ring gear as she belongs with the crowd, who pay to watch people like her, but Bayley said she was not finished and says its time for the Charlotte/Bayley rivalry to begin. Bayley talks about the “scoreboard” and how she is up on Charlotte 2-0 as Charlotte says those victories do not count. Charlotte said last night, she held up four fingers for the Four Horsewomen as she has always been #1 while Bayley was always #4 and was never good enough to be called up with Becky Lynch, Sasha, and herself. Bayley says she can prove how good she is right now Charlotte then said since Bayley is dressed like a “fifth-grader” she will take her to school and asks for a ref as the match will take place after the break.
The segment was uneven and Bayley remains weak on promos as she has a lot of awkward pauses. Plus, her material was rather poor as well. However, with Sasha out of the title picture, the crowd wants Bayley to take her place and she is easily the most worthy challenger on the roster.
Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley
They fight over an arm wringer to start and end in a stalemate. Charlotte then takes Bayley around and tosses her around with a figure four neck lock. Bayley takes a quick breather in the corner then grabs a side headlock. Bayley lands an elbow smash then works the arm for a bit. Bayley then hits an elbow smash and gets two with a crossbody as Charlotte is now the one taking a breather in the corner as Bayley mocks Charlotte. Bayley takes Charlotte down with a drop toehold then messes around with her on the mat. Charlotte then rolls outside as we head to break and return with Charlotte working another neck lock as we saw her cut off Bayley with a kick to the face during the break. Bayley breaks it up with a bridging pin attempt for two but Charlotte chops her down. Charlotte works a chinlock then a boot to the face but Bayley fights back. They clothesline each other down then trade strikes as that ends with Bayley firing away after a Thesz Press. Bayley runs wild and hits Charlotte with a neckbreaker as she was hanging through the ropes. Charlotte yanks Bayley off of the top rope then steps on top of her as she hits a moonsault from the top for two. Bayley rolls her up for two then Charlotte chops her down. Bayley then blocks a chop and catches Charlotte with a backslide for the win (14:50) **1/2. We then get a replay with Graves telling us how Charlotte’s shoulders were up before the three count.
Thoughts: I felt like they were off a bit the first half of this match. They also kept harping on the fact that Bayley was at an advantage since Charlotte wrestled last night which is weird to do for a babyface act. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how they play up on the finish, as Charlotte clearly had her shoulders up, next week on RAW.
Back to sensitivity training, Bo is told how he cannot always make it about himself. Darren Young & Bob Backlund do some role reversal as Backlund gets carried away. Enzo says he understands this exercise and does it with Jinder. Enzo makes fun of Jinder and how everyone swipes to the left on Tinder when they see his name. Jinder calls out Enzo for trying to overcompensate with bad attitude and his mouth because he has “Little Man Syndrome” as this ends with the two almost coming to blows.
Emmalina will be premiering soon. We are then shown a tweet where she calls out fans for loving the Four Horsewomen.
Sensitivity training ends with everyone going over their goals and getting their certificates. Enzo tells the teacher he is already certified and asks to trade “Instagram handles” in case he is in need of training throughout the night. However, Rusev enters then when Enzo leaves Jinder is waiting at the other exit as Rusev tosses Enzo around with help from Jinder. Rusev then holds up Enzo for Lana, who slaps Enzo across the face before Rusev puts Enzo through the table with an uranage. Rusev destroying Enzo seemed predictable when this all started. I was indifferent to all these sketches as depending on your tastes in comedy will determine how much you liked these segments.
Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho
Owens attacks Rollins to start then mocks Reigns from the apron. Jericho tags in and hits a snap suplex as Cole notes how Triple H is the reason that Owens has the Universal Championship. Rollins hits Jericho with a sling blade for two then stomps Jericho to the apron. He suplexes Jericho then tags Reigns, who gets booed by the crowd. Owens tags in as Reigns smiles as they go back-and-forth until Reigns knocks him down. Jericho tags in as Reigns decks him as Owens & Jericho regroup outside then head up the ramp. However, Rollins & Reigns follow them up and bring them back inside. Rollins beats on Jericho then Reigns tags in as they run wild until we go to break. The action returns with Reigns tagging in and beating on Owens as he is getting some cheers. Jericho provides a distraction as Owens hits a super kick for two as Reigns is now trapped in the opposing corner. We get dueling Reigns chants now as his comeback is cut off by a dropkick from Jericho. Owens tags in and stomps Reigns as he and Jericho are in control. Jericho hits an enziguiri then Owens tags in and starts pummeling away. Reigns escapes a chinlock and hits Owens with a Samoan Drop as both men are down. Reigns makes the tag as Rollins hits Jericho & Owens with blockbusters then a neckbreaker/DDT combo for two. Jericho blocks a Pedigree and hits an enziguiri but gets backdropped to the floor then Rollins takes out both men with a tope. Back inside, Rollins tries for a frog splash but Jericho got his knees up. Jericho puts Rollins in the Walls of Jericho but Rollins grabs the ropes. Jericho tries a springboard dropkick on Reigns but is hit with a Superman Punch. Rollins tries for the tag but Strowman yanks Reigns off of the apron and tosses him down as the ref calls for the DQ (17:20) ***1/4. Owens & Jericho beat on Rollins then bail as Strowman hits Rollins with a running powerslam.
Thoughts: Good match. Rollins looked the best he has here in a while and I liked how Strowman came off at the end as he destroyed Reigns and Rollins. This show put over Strowman quite well.
Final Thoughts: The main event was good and I liked how they built up Strowman but the rest of the show was forgettable. I suspect things will pick up again in the new year as the WWE will finish off 2016 in cruise control. They already have the Universal Title match set for the Rumble which is good and did establish some newer feuds, even if some of them appear to be misses, so there was at a focus to what they were doing.