January 25, 2016
From the American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL
Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole
Before the show we get clips from last night’s Royal Rumble, focusing on Roman Reigns getting attacked by the League of Nations and getting off of a stretcher to walk to the back before running back out to the match. HHH entered at #30 and won after eliminating Dean Ambrose to become the WWE World Champion.
Live show starts with Vince and Stephanie grinning from ear-to-ear as they make their way to the ring. Vince yells at the crowd to shut up then tells them they can care less how they are feeling because they feel good. Vince declares that Roman Reigns is “broken,” much like the crowd who also tuck their tails between their legs and walk away when faced with adversity. Vince then tells us he is not here to gloat but rather to give his first confession, which turns out to be that he “enjoys the misfortunes and misery” of others and says all the fans are broken and miserable, but not as much as Roman Reigns. Both of them now talk about how we all thought either Roman or even Brock Lesnar would win. Stephanie even brings up how the fans thought AJ Styles would win as she tells us we live in a fantasy world because HHH was #30 and going to win. The crowd starts chanting for AJ then after that Stephanie tells us no one works harder than her husband, HHH, who comes in his suit and holding the WWE World Championship. Vince tells us to “bow down to the king” as HHH tells us it is good to be the king. HHH then hands it to Roman Reigns, saying that despite having the chance to be the best athlete, he is not because he lacks respect. HHH even calls him “arrogant and cocky,” needing to learn his place in life. HHH then cuts an aggressive promo saying the ring is like his church and religion and will not allow Reigns to disrespect him. HHH then addresses those who ask why he needs to do this as he puts over his accomplishments. HHH says they are right, he doesn’t need to be the champion, but he wants to be as people like Roman Reigns do not deserve it and until he says so, he will remain the champion. A chant for Reigns breaks out as Vince tells them to shut up as HHH says Reigns is on a path to self-destruction. Stephanie then asks HHH who will he be facing at WrestleMania before announcing that they are evaluating all talent tonight and the main event of Fastlane will be announced at the end, with the winner of that match facing HHH at WrestleMania for the Title. I thought HHH did a great job on the mic here but trying to get the fans to feel sympathetic towards Reigns after how they made him look last night is going to be a tough task to say the least.
Cole then brings up how a “major star” will make his return tonight. We also will get AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho tonight.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens
Rapper Flo Rida is shown sitting at ringside. Owens’ left arm was all taped up and he is slightly limping while selling the brutal Last Man Standing match from last night. Ziggler nearly puts Owens away with a super kick to start. He hammers away from the outside but gets shoved into the barricade. Owens drags Ziggler inside and beats on him in the corner. Ziggler comes back with a dropkick after Cole mentioned the fact Sami Zayn eliminated Owens from the Rumble match as we head to break. The action returns with Owens in control as we saw Owens shove Ziggler into the post during the break. Ziggler breaks out of a chinlock but Owens block a super kick attempt. Owens misses a charge as Ziggler hits a Fameasser for a nearfall. Ziggler works a sleeper as Owens backs him into the corner twice before finally escaping. Owens hits a German suplex but Ziggler comes back with a super kick for two. They battle up top as Owen shoves Ziggler down. Ziggler charges but eats boot then Owens heads back up top. Ziggler leaps but Owens slips off and cuts Ziggler off then hits the Pop-Up Powerbomb for the win (8:47) **1/4.
Thoughts: These two have had better matches. On commentary, it was made crystal clear that Owens is a few notches above Ziggler on the pecking order, in case you had any doubts.
Backstage, Jojo approaches Roman Reigns, who is entering the arena. Jojo asks him about Vince’s comments about him being “broken.” Reigns smirks then says he cannot believe that Vince said that. Reigns then tells Jojo to let the “Chairman and the Champ” know that he is here and wants to hear the announcement. He ends by telling Jojo to “be good” before walking away as we head to break. Roman did not appear to be very angry over what happened last night.
The Social Outcasts are in the ring. Slater talks then sees Flo Rida sitting ringside. He heads out and references what happened when they met at WrestleMania 28. Slater warns Flo Rida to not get him mad as the other Social Outcasts bicker until Bo Dallas tells Flo Rida to get into the ring and face the four “Super Friends.” Flo Rida enters the ring as Slater says he doesn’t want to hurt him, but rather embarrass him with a rap battle against “Bo Rida.” Bo Dallas, now sporting a chain and a Kangol, proceeds to cut a funny rap with the Social Outcasts egging on Flo Rida, who responds with a rap about hitting Slater and ending with the Dudley Boyz coming out for a match. Flo Rida did not do a good job here and Bo was a lot more entertaining. I thought the segment was fine for what it was.
Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel w/ Heath Slater & Adam Rose vs. Dudley Boyz w/ Flo Rida
The match started during the break. Dallas is now sporting a singlet and he looks straight out of the 1980’s. Dallas even starts the “Bo Train” as the rest of the Social Outcasts join him for a victory lap. Back inside, Dallas works over Bubba, who eventually breaks free and makes the tag. D-Von runs wild then tags back out as Slater jumps up on the apron. Flo Rida tosses Slater, who starts yelling. Slater turns around and gets caught with a slam as the Dudleys hit the Wassup Drop. Axel charges but D-Von shoves him against the ropes as the Dudleys hit the 3-D for the win (4:40) *. After the match, Flo Rida celebrates with the Dudleys.
Thoughts: Not much to this match. The crowd didnt care much but the Outcasts tried at least.
Backstage, Renee Young is with AJ Styles. She tells him how he made headlines last night and to tell us all who he is. AJ talks about turning the WWE Universe upside down last night then Chris Jericho comes out. Jericho puts over AJ’s accomplishments before hyping their match. Jericho then says “welcome to the big leagues, kid” and slaps AJ on the shoulder before leaving as the camera zooms in on AJ.
Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles
The announcers hype Jericho’s appearance on SportsCenter tomorrow night. The crowd chants for AJ to start. These two fight over a lockup until the ref steps in between them. A “this is awesome” chant breaks out as they fight over a wristlock. AJ runs into an elbow but comes back with a clothesline. Jericho now takes control then takes AJ off of the apron with a springboard dropkick. Jericho hits a missile dropkick then refers to AJ as a “kid” as the crowd rallies behind AJ, who comes back with a dropkick of his own. Jericho rolls outside but yanks down AJ, who lands on his shoulder on the apron as we head to break. The action returns as AJ escapes from a chinlock then both guys collide attempting crossbody blocks as both men are down. They slug it out as AJ wins that. Jericho escapes from the fireman’s carry position and goes for the Walls of Jericho but AJ gets out of that. AJ hits a neckbreaker for two. Jericho comes back with a Northern lights suplex for two then they have a pinfall sequence, ending with Jericho hitting an enziguiri for another nearfall. AJ gets his foot up on a charge then gets two with an impressive springboard forearm smash. Jericho catches AJ then drops him down and puts him in the Walls of Jericho in the middle of the ring. AJ looked to be on the verge of tapping twice but makes it to the ropes as the fans applaud in a spot that was fantastically performed. AJ comes back with the Pele kick then heads up top but misses a frog splash. Jericho goes for the Lionsault but AJ gets his knees up. AJ goes for the Styles Clash but Jericho counters that with a rollup then AJ turns that over and gets the win (13:45) ***1/4. After the match, AJ extends his hand to Jericho, who just stares him down. Jericho teases blowing him off but ends up shaking his hand then pulls him close. Jericho whispers something to him that we couldnt hear or see then leaves as AJ poses for the crowd.
Thoughts: Good match. There was a rough spot or two in the first half of the match but after that this became really good. On commentary, they put over AJ a lot and giving him a clean win on TV against Jericho on his RAW debut is a nice start to his career. The fans have been into AJ so far.
A limo pulls up backstage as Cole wonders if that could contain the “major star” coming back to RAW.
Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
Sasha taunts Becky for losing to Charlotte last night at the Rumble while the announcers play up how these two were friends in NXT. Sasha shoves Becky, who takes her down and fires away. Becky kicks Sasha through the ropes but Sasha comes back with a neck snap then stomps Becky in the corner. Sasha slaps Becky down and gets two off of that as a mild “NXT” chant breaks out. Sasha works the neck but Becky comes back with a rollup. Becky takes over and hits an Exploder for a nearfall. Sasha sends Becky into the middle turnbuckle with a drop toehold then yells at the ref when she only got a two count. Becky rolls through a suplex and tries to put on the Disarmer. That fails then Sasha hits the lungblower and puts on the Banks Statement but Charlotte runs out to break that up and goes after both women as the match is ruled a no-contest (3:35) *1/4. Sasha tries to fight back but fails as Charlotte walks back up the ramp as her dad waits on the stage.
Thoughts: The action was fine for the time allotted. I liked the DQ finish here as it continues the conflict between Sasha and Charlotte. Poor Becky was tossed aside like an afterthought here.
In the locker room, Goldust is looking for R-Truth. He puts on Truth’s headphones and starts to sing-and-dance until Truth enters. Goldust tells Truth he has been looking for him everywhere as he has been searching for a new partner, while using his signature mannerisms. Truth looks worried then points at his wedding ring to let Goldust know that he is a married man and “ain’t nothing wrong with that” but he does not “swing that way.” Truth then says he has to go as Goldust said he misunderstood him as he just wants a tag team partner, suggesting they can be called “Golden Truth.” This was fine for a comedy segment. Truth and Goldust also seemed to have some chemistry together here and as a comedy act, I wouldnt mind this pairing at all.
Up next is Bray Wyatt vs. Kane
Bray Wyatt w/ Wyatt Family vs. Kane
Bray and Kane go back-and-forth to start. Bray rolls outside after getting hit with a basement dropkick but snaps Kane’s arm off of the top rope as we head to break. The match returns with Bray working a headlock. Kane breaks it up with a jawbreaker but Bray takes him down with a flying tackle. Kane fights right back and hits a DDT and a side slam as the crowd chants the names of various wrestlers to entertain themselves. Bray ducks outside then re-enters as Kane gets outnumbered in the ring and walks into a clothesline before Bray hits the Sister Abigail for the win (7:08) 1/4*. After the match, Strowman chokes out Kane then the Wyatt Family stands over Kane to end the segment.
Thoughts: This was a bad match. It dragged and the crowd did not seem to care one bit either. The Wyatt Family did not come out of the Rumble looking all that strong last night and if they want to run Bray vs. Lesnar at Mania, then he needs to beat guys like Kane with ease in order to be taken as a serious threat.
Rich Brennan is backstage to wait for the person in the limo to step out. The crowd starts a “Rocky” chant as the door opens but out comes the Miz, who talks himself up. All of a sudden, a horn sounds as a pickup truck arrives. The Rock comes out and tells a pissed off Miz to park his truck as he flips him his keys. The Rock then sees rapper Rick Ross and hits entourage before running into the Big Show. Rock tells Show how he was watching the Royal Rumble where he held onto the ropes to win as Show hit the floor. Show said he should have won while the Rock said he agreed then proceeds to tell Show the director of “Mummy Returns” told him whoever won that match would have gotten the role as Rock tells Show he could have gotten that role and the chance to become a major star. Show looks sad then breaks the laptop he was using as Rock told him that was awesome then slaps him on the shoulder before walking into Lana. I must say that Show’s comedic timing was great here. Rock asks Lana if she remembers the last time they met, where she told him that Rusev smelled like “rotten testicles.” Rock then asked her when they got drunk and did “special exercises” as Lana stops smiling when Rusev appears. Rock asks if they were still together because he heard they broke up as Lana tells him they are engaged as Rock congratulates Rusev for having a flexible fiance. The Rock walks by Pat Patterson and wishes him a happy birthday as he said he just wrapped filming “Ballers” and shows us the curtains that lead to the “Gorilla Position” then pumps up the crowd, who are going nuts for him.
The Rock then heads out to the ring, even stopping to take a selfie with a fan. A “this is awesome” chant breaks out as Rock soaks that up before asking the crowd if they are WrestleMania. He then asks the announcers, referring to Byron Saxton as “the other black dude.” The Rock acknowledges the fans dressed up as wrestlers in the front row as we see an Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and the Rock. The Rock has fun with them then the New Day come out. They alert Rock that the “other black guy” is Byron Saxton and go back-and-forth with the Rock. This was really fun, with the Rock calling their unicorn horns “Llama penises” and the New Day ragging on Miami. The Rock challenged them to get in the ring but they refuse so Rock goes with his other plan and the Usos come out and one-by-one toss the New Day in the ring, ending with Rock hitting the People’s Elbow on Xavier. All in all, an incredible segment. The Rock’s charisma and manic energy in the backstage segment was unreal and this was a joy to watch.
Natalya & Paige vs. Brie Bella & Alicia Fox
Alicia works over Natalya to start. Brie tags and stretches out Natalya before hitting the “Yes” kicks. Natalya pushes off Brie then makes the tag as Paige runs wild. The match breaks down and things get sloppy until Paige hits Brie with the Ram-Paige for the win (2:45) DUD.
Thoughts: Sloppy match that was too short to mean anything. It was just a vehicle for the announcers to plug “Total Divas.”
We get a video package on the WWE’s “Be a Star” campaign.
Miz vs. Kalisto
Before the match, Miz was yelling about getting blown off earlier in the show. Match starts with Miz taking control. Kalisto fights back with kicks and a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Kalisto uses his high flying offense to stay in control until Miz grabs a headlock. Miz mocks the “Lucha” chant to zero response then Kalisto regains control. Miz takes a breather outside as we head to commercial. Match returns with Miz beating on Kalisto. He heads up top and hits a double axe handle for two. Kalisto makes a comeback and hits a springboard corkscrew press and a hurricarana but Miz comes back and hits a DDT for two. Miz then set up for the Skull Crushing Finale but Kalisto counters that with the Salida Del Sol for the win (9:50) **.
Thoughts: This dragged in the middle but other than that it was alright. I hope the WWE gives Kalisto a nice push with the U.S. Title and wonder what feud they have in store for him next.
Up next is the main event of Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns against Sheamus & Rusev
Smackdown this Thursday will feature the “Highlight Reel” with guests Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose.
Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus & Rusev w/Alberto Del Rio & Wade Barrett
Match starts with Reigns beating on Sheamus. Sheamus and Rusev get dumped outside as Ambrose flies off of the top with an elbow smash to take them out as we head to commercial. The match returns with Sheamus putting Reigns in a headlock. Reigns escapes and hits a clothesline as both men are down. Hot tag to Ambrose as he beats on Sheamus. The referee gets distracted and that allows ADR to toss Ambrose in the timekeeper’s area. Back inside, the League of Nations work over Ambrose. The crowd rallies behind Ambrose, who hits Rusev with a back suplex as both men are down. The League of Nations try to rough up Ambrose outside but he clotheslines Sheamus then crawls inside to make the tag. Reigns runs wild until Rusev catches him with pair of kicks. Sheamus tags and hits a Brogue Kick but Ambrose breaks up the pin then takes out Rusev on the outside. In the ring, Reigns comes back with a spear on Sheamus for the win (15:20) **1/2. After the match, Ambrose and Rusev get revenge on the League of Nations and powerbomb Rusev through the announcers table. After that, Stephanie McMahon comes out and says that was an impressive and does what is best for business. So, at Fastlane, we will see a triple threat match between Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar, with the winner facing HHH at WrestleMania. The camera zoomed in on
Thoughts: The match itself was decent. However, having Stephanie give Reigns a shot to face HHH, who spent the beginning of the show saying that he became the champ to make sure guys like Reigns do not become champ because he does not deserve it, makes little sense. If they are doing it to have Reigns feel conflicted by wrestling his friend and getting destroyed by Brock, I still do not see how that is going to get the fans behind Reigns at Fastlane.
Final Thoughts: Overall, the show was decent. They had a lot of positive momentum heading into tonight after the awesome Royal Rumble PPV and they managed to keep some of that going at least. The Rock segment was awesome and AJ/Jericho was a good match. Unfortunately, the way they booked Reigns at the Rumble was damaging to him and its going to take a lot of work to get them fully behind Reigns at WrestleMania. I believe they will do everything they can over the next two months to try and make that happen. Whether it works or not is anyone’s guess.
Beyond that, the Divas title feud seems to be headed towards Charlotte vs. Sasha and the first two interactions have been good. Even the lower card comedy stuff was fine. I assume next week we will see the direction of the Intercontinental and U.S. Title feuds.