January 11, 2016
City: New Orleans, LA
Venue: Smoothie King Center
Commentary: Michael Cole, JBL, Byron Saxton
Ring Announcer: Lilian Garcia
The show starts with a recap of last week’s RAW with Reigns threatening to put Vince in a hospital, Vince reffing the title match, and Vince’s announcement of the title being put on the line in the Rumble.
A bunch of Superstars (New Day, Damien Sandow, The Ascension, Fandango, Kevin Owens, R-Truth, Tyler Breeze, Alberto Del Rio, The Dudley Boyz, Mark Henry, The Usos, Titus O’Neil, Dean Ambrose, Goldust, Darren Young, Kalisto, Stardust, Dolph Ziggler, Zack Ryder, Ryback, Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas, Adam Rose, Heath Slater, Rusev, Sheamus, King Barrett) are lined up on the stage as the show starts. Vince’s music hits and he and Stephanie make their way to the ring.
Vince and Stephanie are very happy and say that any of the men on the stage could win the title. They single out Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, and New Day (and say something about booty). The Wyatt Family appears at the announce table and Bray says, “anyone but Roman.” Vince also mentions Lesnar, then Reigns’ music hits.
Reigns asks about what happens if he wins the Rumble. Stephanie laughs, but Vince says that it’s a possibility. He says that they talked about that possibility and came up with an idea for a match with a whole bunch of guys versus Reigns. Stephanie says Reigns might face Ambrose, but Vince says no. He’s in the first match. Sheamus attacks Ambrose on the stage.
** Not much of an opening segment, but I like that Bray Wyatt made it a point to stand out from the crowd. I’m kind of hoping he wins. **
Dean Ambrose (IC Champ) vs Sheamus
(referee: Rod Zapata)
The match is already underway. Sheamus is in control of Ambrose. Ambrose comes back with strikes in the corner, but Sheamus throws him to the floor. Sheamus delivers forearms and a clothesline on the apron. Sheamus puts on a rear chinlock in the ring. Ambrose escapes with a belly to back suplex.
Sheamus goes for more forearms, but Ambrose delivers some of his own. Sheamus gets mad and throws Ambrose into the barricade and suplexes him onto the announce table. Ambrose fights back in the ring. Sheamus goes for a Brogue Kick but misses and falls to the floor. Ambrose dives through the ropes.
Sheamus is in control and hits an Irish Curse backbreaker. He then puts Ambrose in an inverted cloverleaf. Ambrose gets to the ropes. Ambrose builds some momentum and hits a tornado DDT for a 2 count. Ambrose hits a diving elbow/lariat for a 2 count. Ambrose looks for Dirty Deeds, Sheamus sets up White Noise, Ambrose hits a bouncing lariat sending Sheamus to the floor.
Ambrose goes for another dive but meets a forearm. Sheamus repeatedly throws Ambrose into the barricade and then the ring steps. Ambrose throws Sheamus into the post and steps as the ref reaches 10.
Result: The match ends in a double count-out when neither men makes it back into the ring
Time: 10:34 (2 breaks)
Not a terribly exciting match. Sheamus kept it pretty methodical, and the ending was pretty expected. The camera kept focusing on the ref as he made his ten count, so you pretty much knew how it would end. It kind of felt a little like they were just going through the motions.
Sheamus and Ambrose keep fighting outside the ring and Sheamus is bloodied. Ambrose sets up the announce table but Kevin Owens attacks Ambrose from behind. Multiple referees come out and Owens backs off up the ramp.
Renee Young asks Ambrose about getting hurt. Ambrose says he’s still alive. That’s bad news for Kevin Owens.
Paul Heyman tells Vince and Stephanie that Vince’s idea is his best one yet. Heyman also says that Lesnar is a prize fighter and won’t want to compete in the Rumble. Vince doesn’t like it. Stephanie suggests they continue their conversation in private.
Stardust vs Titus O’Neil
(referee: Darrick Moore)
Stardust starts strong with strikes, but he gets slammed by Titus. Titus chops Stardust, sending him staggering around the ring. Stardust leaps at Titus and gets caught. Titus delivers rib-breakers and tosses Stardust aside.
Stardust responds with stomps and a dropkick. Stardust applies a rear chinlock but Titus stands up and throws him off. Big boot by Titus. Stardust hits a Side Effect for a 2 count. Stardust leaps at Titus but misses and takes a Clash of the Titus.
Result: Titus O’Neil wins via pinfall with Clash of the Titus
An okay match. Nothing too surprising, but it was a pretty good match. Titus was slower which allowed Stardust get some advantages, but whenever he caught Stardust he overpowered him.
Titus celebrates his win with a little kid, but Stardust chop blocks him and runs Titus into the barricade. He leaves Titus laying as he backs up the ramp.
It’s Chris Jericho’s “Highlight Reel” with New Day as the guests. Jericho talks about himself and doesn’t introduce New Day, so New Day introduces themselves. Jericho starts a “Rooty Tooty Booty” chant. New Day says that’s not even a thing. New Day has had enough of Jericho’s shame.
The Usos comes out and “whoas” New Day. Kofi tells Jim to hold on. He points out that that it’s three on two. Jericho calls Kofi a “dumb ass” and says that there are actually six people in the ring and proposes a match.
** I love Jericho, but I’m not a fan of starting your own chants, especially when the chant isn’t very clever. Also, calling someone a “dumb ass” isn’t terribly clever either. I did like his references to Lemmy and David Bowie though. **
New Day (tag champs) (Kofi Kingston & Big E w/ Xavier Woods) vs The Usos w/ Chris Jericho
(referee: Dan Engler)
The match is already underway. Kofi and Jimmy are in the ring. The Usos double team Kofi and are in control. Kofi tags in Big E but The Usos continue to dominate. Jimmy dances which makes Big E angry. Big back elbow to Jey.
Kofi tags in and aggressively goes after Jey. Jimmy tags back in and hits a running hip attack on Kofi for a 2 count. Jimmy goes up top but gets pushed to the floor by Kofi. Woods celebrates with his trombone but Jericho disapproves and chases him up the ramp.
Kofi is in control. Big E is tagged and hits a big splash on the apron. He puts Jimmy in an ab stretch. Jimmy fights out but Big E delivers a clothesline. Big E is sent to the floor but Kofi tags in. Jimmt goes for the tag but Big E pulls Jey off the apron. Kofi sends Jimmy to the floor and Big E clotheslines him.
Kofi hits a Boom Drop and goes for Trouble in Paradise but misses. both men make tags and Jey dominates Big E. Jey dives over the ropes onto Kofi and Big E on the floor. Jey hits a diving cross body for a 2 count on Big E.
Jey runs toward Big E but takes a belly to belly for a 2 count. Big E sets up the Big Ending but takes a superkick. Kofi tags in and also takes a superkick. Jey goes to the top but Woods distracts him, allowing Kofi to knock Jey from the ropes. Jericho blasts Woods’ trombone in Woods’ face and then breaks the trombone. Woods is distraught. The distraction allows Jey to get a schoolboy on Kofi for the win.
Result: Jey pins Kofi with a schoolboy
Time: 12:22 (2 breaks)
Good match. The first part was very even with neither team getting an advantage. It was very back and forth. After that, New Day started to take over. Jericho didn’t do a whole lot during the match, but his interaction with Woods midway through set up how the match would end. That was a really cool way to tie it all together. I also enjoyed Big E pulling Jey from the apron. Great timing.
Stephanie tells Heyman he is infuriating. Heyman says Vince is wrong. Stephanie tries to explain things. Heyman understands Stephanie’s difficult position, but he tells her that Lesnar says, “no.” Stephanie says Lesnar will compete in the Rumble.
JBL announces the first Hall of Fame inductee: Sting.
Sting’s Hall of Fame announcement video.
The Wyatt Family heads to the ring. Bray looks like he’s about to talk when some new music plays. It’s the Social Outcasts. Slater tells everyone to get some penicillin. Adam Rose sees a big stinky ogre. Axel says there is a new family in town. Bo Dallas says the outcasts are like the four musketeers.
The Wyatt Family vs Social Outcasts
(referee: Ryan Tran)
Rose and Strowman start. Rose immediately gets pushed back and Dallas tags himself in. He gets tossed. Axel tags in and lands an elbow and some punches. He gets put down. Bray tags in. As he goes for Axel Ryback’s music hits.
Result: The Wyatt Family wins via DQ when Ryback attacks
This wasn’t really even a match. It was well on it’s way to a comedic thrashing when Ryback stuck his face in the ring.
The Wyatts attack Ryback, but the Outcasts gang up on the Wyatts. Ryback and the Outcasts clear the ring. Ryback wants to be fed more.
Renee Young asks Kalisto about his upcoming title match. Kalisto says the US title means the world to him. He mentions Cena and Eddie Guerrero as fighting champs and says that Del Rio avoids fighting.
US Title Match
Alberto Del Rio (US Champ) vs Kalisto
(referee: Mike Chioda)
Del Rio immediately attacks Kalisto with strikes and a snap suplex. Del Rio hits a DDT and Kalisto rolls out to the floor. Del Rio rolls Kalisto in and goes to the top rope. He hits Kalisto and stomps him.
Del Rio sets Kalisto on the top rope. He goes for a superplex but Kalisto knocks Del Rio off. Kalisto hits a stag dive and a springboard corkscrew attack. Kalisto goes for a hurricanrana but gets caught and powerbombed. Del Rio throws him to the floor.
Del Rio kicks Kalisto against the barricade and rolls him into the ring. Rear chinlock by Del Rio. Kalisto hits a cross body from the second rope but takes a clothesline. Kalisto manages to hit a hurricanrana and Del Rio rolls to the floor. Kalisto dives through the ropes but Del Rio sidesteps and sends Kalisto into the floor and barricade.
Kalisto is on the top rope but Del Rio again sidesteps and drives Kalisto into the mat. 2 count for Del Rio. Kalisto kicks from his back, but Del Rio hits another snap suplex. Del Rio goes up top but takes too long. Kalisto climbs the ropes and hits a hurricanrana from the corner. Both men are slow to get up.
Kalisto hits another corkscrew and a DDT. 2 count. Del Rio responds with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Del Rio looks for a kick, misses, and takes one from Kalisto. 2 count for Kalisto.
Kalisto goes up top. Del Rio catches him and hits a dragon sleeper suplex. Kalisto goes for Salida Del Sol but Del Rio hangs him up on the ropes. Del Rio sets Kalisto up in the corner and kicks him. Del Rio goes up to, looking for his corner stop but misses. Kalisto follows up with a kneeling flying head scissors but Del Rio kicks out at 2.
Kalisto misses Salida Del Sol. Del Rio goes for a German suplex but Kalisto counters into a victory roll for the win.
Result: Kalisto wins with a victory roll and becomes the new US Champ
Time: 12:13 (1 break)
Really good match. Very Enjoyable. It wasn’t a typical match because Del Rio had pretty much everything scouted and shut Kalisto down nearly every time. You could tell that he seemed to still take Kalisto a little lightly though. He took his time and never seemed to feel like he would lose. He never even got upset because he felt like he was in control. That allowed Kalisto’s small bursts of offense and a nice counter victory to seem that much more exciting. I can’t say I was very surprised, but it was still a really good match. It was something different to see too. Kalisto had to think of different ways to try to get offense since he kept getting shut down.
** Cole really oversold a lot of the calls in the match which was kind of distracting. He even oversold the result of the match a bit. I guess that’s his job, but that’s another reason I tune him out most of the time. Overselling everything means the really exciting things don’t mean as much. Not to say this wasn’t cool. **
Jojo welcomes Charlotte and Ric Flair. Charlotte pretty much just ignores Jojo’s question and just talks about whatever. She calls Becky Lynch a villain. Flair woos.
Brie Bell and Alicia head to the ring for their match. Charlotte and Flair also head to the ring. As soon as Charlotte enters the ring Becky Lynch attacks her. Referees pull Becky away. She backs up the ramp saying that she’s going to take Charlotte’s title.
Flair gets on the mic and says Charlotte is in no condition to wrestle tonight, “all because of your Becky Lynch.” He calls some guy in the audience fat.
** Cole and Byron act annoyed that Flair is blaming Charlotte. Becky attacked Charlotte, so yeah, this was her fault. She shouldn’t be expected to wrestle. I dislike it when the babyface commentators are so far in their support of the good guys that they don’t make sense or don’t look at things reasonably. Saxton is pretty bad about that. Cole is too, but with Saxton there he tends to play devil’s advocate for both sides. Not this time though. **
Jojo points out that Becky is emotional. Becky talks about the promise that she and Charlotte made to each other when they started. Becky is on her own. Her emotions are where they should be.
One Versus All Match (Gauntlet Match)
Roman Reigns (World Heavyweight Champ) vs Kevin Owens & Sheamus & Alberto Del Rio & New Day (Tag Champs) & Stardust & The Ascension & Tyler Breeze & The Wyatt Family
(Vince & Stephanie McMahon at ringside; referee: Chad Patton)
Reigns and Owens tie up. Owens goes behind and Reigns switches. Owens escaepes with a wristlock. Reigns puts on a side headlock and knocks Owens down with a shoulder block. Owens takes a break.
Owens attacks Reigns with strikes. He wears Reigns down with a rear chinlock. Reigns escapes and looks for a Samoan drop. Owens escapes but Reigns hits a neckbreaker. Sheamus distracts Reigns allowing Owens to hit a side kick. Owens hits a running senton on the floor.
Owens has Reigns in a rear chinlock. Reigns fights out but gets sent to the floor. Owens hits Reigns with a fallaway slam on the floor into the barricade. 2 count for Owens. Owens puts Reigns in a Cobra Clutch. Reigns fights to his feet and escapes with a belly to back suplex. Owens hits a superkick. 2 count for Owens.
Owens puts Reigns in a headlock. Reigns fights out but runs shoulder first into the ring post. Cannon ball from Owens. 2 count on Reigns. Owens looks frustrated. Owens misses a running senton and both men are slow to get up.
Reigns delivers a boot from the corner. They exchange strikes. Reigns takes over and hits a series of lariats. Owens goes for another superkick but takes a big boot. Reigns calls for the Superman punch. The Ascension gets on the apron and both men take a Superman punch. Stardust enters the ring and takes a Samoan drop. Tyler Breeze gets powerbombed and speared.
McMahon sends everybody into the ring to beat down Reigns. The referee just gives up and leaves.
Result: The match ends in a no contest when McMahon orders the people at ringside to attack
Time: 14:31 (1 break)
I like that Kevin Owens took the chance to be in the main event to show what he can do. It wasn’t a great showing, but that was mostly because of all of the distractions and the fact that the rules of the match were never very clearly stated. It’s just like a gauntlet match apparently, but Vince was pretty much just doing whatever he wanted and making things up as he went. You can’t really get into a match that way. It makes sense for the story aspect of it, but like so many things in the Reigns storyline, they just keep piling things up to try to make it interesting and to distract the viewer with a whole bunch of stuff.
The match is apparently over as New Day, Sheamus, Del Rio, and Owens all attack Reigns together. Del Rio kicks Reigns. Sheamus kicks Reigns. Brock Lesnar’s music plays and he and Heyman hit the ring. New Day is excited. They get destroyed. Lesnar takes out Owens, Del Rio, and Sheamus. Lesnar F-5s Reigns.
There were a couple of good matches, but I didn’t think this was a great show. I liked the stuff with Heyman, the New Day/Usos tag match, and the US Title match, but the rest was kind of average. The Stardust/O’Neil match was pretty good but it was too short.
I did like how the Wyatt Family presented themselves on the show. In the opening segment they stood apart from everyone else and made a point to get themselves noticed. During their match they just let Strowman do whatever as the rest of them stood back. They didn’t need to mess with that comedy nonsense and wouldn’t be used to get a new faction over. And in the main event they were at ringside with everyone else, but they stood behind everyon and never moved. When the action started and Vince ordered everyone into the ring they did not join in. They did what they had to by being out there, but they wouldn’t be pushed into doing something that they didn’t want to do. They know how to pick their fights and know how to set themselves apart. I really like that. So I guess the Wyatt Family was my favorite part of the night, even though (or because) they didn’t really do anything.
With how good the Wyatts are as a unit and the creation of the Social Outcasts, it makes me wonder why they are failing so terribly with the League of Nations thing. Rusev and Barrett were there. They were on the stage at the beginning of the show, bt they didn’t have them come out in the main event. They don’t have the League supporting each other in their matches. I’m not saying they all have to come out every time, but if they want to make them work as a unit they need to treat them like one. Have Barrett come to the ring with Del Rio in his title match. Have Rusev stay out there for Sheamus’ match. They don’t always have to get involved, but if they want factions to feel like factions then they need to show some kind of solidarity among the members. I guess they aren’t really interested in the League of Nations working as a group, but I think that bad at this point because the formation of the League derailed some of the individual storylines they each had before they became a group. Now it seems pointless.
Match of the Night
US Title Match
This was a solid match. Not surprising, but they pulled off the underdog victory pretty well. At times Del Rio seemed disinterested, but that made sense since he didn’t see Kalisto as much of a threat. Even though Kalisto beat him on Smackdown, he saw it as a fluke. This one was kind of a fluke too, but I could see Del Rio getting mch more aggressive in their next match. That’s one of the good things about this match. It sets up the potential for more variety in upcoming matches and doesn’t put everything out there all at once. It should keep the feud interesting and vary the styles of the matches.